Editorials

Poor township’s chief again plays fast, loose with taxes

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks
East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks dholtmann@bnd.com

Maybe East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks could get away with bending the rules if he hadn’t taken over for a corrupt man now in federal prison for treating $230,000 in tax dollars as his own. Maybe Parks would get a pass if this were his first transgression.

But it’s not. And he shouldn’t.

Parks is supposed to run all spending through the township’s trustees. He’s failed to do so, with an $888.81 check that looks like he worked hard to get past the intended oversight.

He scratched out the lock company that was the intended recipient. Then he made it payable as a salary advance to a township employee, who apparently owed the money to the power company. He needed a co-signer, so he got the trustee who just happened to be the employee’s dad.

So much wrong here: Nepotism, cronyism, corruption before you even get to the HR issues involved in salary advances and tracking a vendor check through the payroll process. Not that anyone in East St. Louis Township has been all that great at tracking money — allowing former supervisor Oliver W. Hamilton to vastly overspend his credit card limits and ultimately steal big bucks, losing track of millions in deposits, misspending youth jobs grants and paying $550 for a political crony to remove a dusting of snow.

Trustees want Parks prosecuted for violating the township ordinance. State’s attorney and congressional candidate Brendan Kelly would quickly hand that political hot potato off to the Illinois State Police.

That should be done, but the real fix is to eliminate this useless layer of government that mimics the city of East St. Louis’ boundaries, but does little real public service. East St. Louis mainly serves as a job service for relatives and political hacks, and as the occasional ATM for corrupt politicians.

Eliminate it, and let property taxpayers keep their money or invest in something that betters the community rather than keeps it down.

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