Highland News Leader

HNL 091918 Letters

Plaudits to attorney general

In the wake of the shocking Pennsylvania Grand Jury report which revealed that 301 priests sexually abused more than a thousand children, Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her office would investigate Catholic dioceses in Illinois in pursuit of “a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois.”

We applaud this decision and her desire for truth, transparency, and accountability. Justice must be pursued.

We also want to encourage the attorney general not to stop there. Prior to the Pennsylvania revelation, the Chicago Tribune published a deeply disturbing report exposing similar abuses of our children in Chicago Public Schools. This report revealed that more than 520 cases of juvenile sexual assault took place in Chicago’s public schools over the past 10 years. That is an average of one per week.

How many cases were prosecuted? Which cases were covered up and by whom? How many predators are still working in our schools and have access to our students? How many cases were not reported?

If the Pennsylvania scandal is the catalyst for an investigation in Illinois—and we agree that it should be—shouldn’t the Chicago Tribune exposé be the impetus for an investigation of all school districts in Illinois going back further than a decade?

Years of concealing crimes, ignoring victims and protecting abusers isn’t unique to one institution. All crimes against children demand a full accounting. Predators must be exposed, prosecuted and removed from positions of power that provide access to minors.

David E. Smith, Executive Director, Illinois Family Institute

Transparent on county board

I provide this 62nd Report to the People to provide information and aid in government transparency.

Hamel, Livingston, Worden Route 66 News: I moved the Madison County Resolution in Support of the Designation of Route 66 as A National Historic Trail which unanimously passed the Planning and Development and Transportation Committees (seconded David Michael) this month. Many thanks to Congressman Rodney Davis for Bill 66 we hope will pass the Congress. Designation of Route 66 as a Historic National Trail which may bring additional tourism dollars to Livingston, Hamel, Worden and parts of Edwardsville which are in my district.

Finance Committee: I attended the Finance Committee Sept 12.

Regional Planning: I moved the commitment of $30,000 for membership for the year Aug. 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019, which passed unanimously with bi-partisan support. In order to ensure county participation in regional planning and assist with economic development in the Metro east and Southwestern Illinois.

Scheffel Boyle Annual Report: Scheffel provided their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal year ended November 30, 2017. By in large the report showed excellent financial health. However, the report noted some concerns. Scheffel Boyle’s report flagging the carry-over of vacation outside of policy, and, credit card use alerted me as issues needing attention.

Special Auditor’s Report: Rick Faccin presented a memo dated Sept. 5, 2018, on supposed irregularities about travel policies and credit card use by the IT Department travel to Chicago, noting one participant received official educational credit while Rob Dorman, IT Head, didn’t. According to records submitted by the auditor, the trip also cost $2,500 over the amount approved by County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler. After questioning by me and other Finance Committee members we demanded all travel policies be followed. In addition, the Finance Committee voted 5-1 (I and Board Member David Michael voted no) against a request by the IT Department future expensive travel training to Las Vegas which didn’t appear to have been prepared by the IT Department and Administration according to policy. I hope committee oversight ensures staff will be kept out of trouble and tax payer’s money will be spent according to policy.

Transportation Committee, Hamel News: I attended the Transportation Committee Sept. 12, 2018. I voted for Siever’s Equipment Hamel be awarded two bids. 1. The Resolution to Purchase one new 115 HP Tractor, and, (2) a purchase request for one (1) Heavy Duty Single Wing Rotary Mower. Siever’s Equipment emerged the low bidder meeting all specifications.

Highland News, St. Rose Road roundabout: In order to complete the Highland roundabout project, I voted for an agreement of transfer of the jurisdiction of a portion of .116 miles (613 feet) of St. Rose Road (CH 40) terminus being the west right of way line of Iberg Road (Sta 67+37) to approximately 523 feet east of the center of the Broadway/St. Rose Road/Iberg Road Round-A- (Sta 73+50). Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 605 article 5/5-105 grants to the county the authority to make changes to the changes to the county highway system. The project will enhance safety. County Board Members David Michael and Judy Kuhn also voted for this.

Phil Chapman, County Board District Three