For my regulars, feel free to skip over this quick intro and head straight for the re-write section of the post.
If this happens to be one of your first posts, you should be warned that some of my content is an acquired taste. Most people don’t sit curled up on a couch with a good municipal code book or a set of meeting minutes and while I sit upright at a desk when doing it, understanding the topic of law as a non-attorney is a critical component of being able to maintain and sustain a system that provides equal access to the justice system.
Here in Midlothian, there are groups of people who have talked extensively about the condition of our municipal code and the Village has already been cited by another jurisdiction for faulty codification. Questions about why “we” haven’t done anything about it are impossible to answer in a generic, if not also simple way.
This post talks about a local law certainly used by the Presidents of Midlothian’s past, but has been too severely abused during the Sharon Rybak administration for it to be considered unimportant in our community discourse both online and offline. And now the re-write section!
A while back on Facebook in the Advanced Midlothian Politics group, there was discussion about how and why the Mayor wasn’t being confronted for a variety of acts in a more legal setting and complete with punishment and penalty.
In general, it was revealed that Title 1, Section 5, Chapter 4 was the point of major weakness and combined with a Village Attorney who seemed entirely unwilling to involve himself by properly advising the Board of Trustees what to do about a long list of things, eventually the Board of Trustees had to unanimously vote twice to open up an Office of the Investigator General and appoint Sheriff Tom Dart’s office as the personnel to perform the tasks necessary to investigate complaints submitted to them.
It still remains such the waste of both time and resources when matters such as the Village Seal do not need a Sheriff to come riding into the Village to rescue a municipal unit from itself and our current municipal codes do not allow for such judgments to be passed upon any elected official.
Our municipal code book does provide penalties for any person convicted of a violation in Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 1, but nowhere in the code does it outline how a Board of judges is to be formed whenever there is a challenge to the President’s behavior…unlike what happens when a Local Election Board commences over the challenge of nomination papers.
I’ve listed below the actual law as it reads in the Sterling Codifier’s website version and then I’ve gone ahead and re-wrote the law, mostly with more logic and order installed in its referencing and indexing abilities (search engine optimization), but with one section that does not exist…at this time.
So the next time you ask yourself some form of the question of “Why hasn’t anything been done about our Mayor’s behaviors,” it would be taxing on two taxing bodies; i.e. the Village and any other authoritative body having jurisdiction over a violation, including Dart’s office, the Public Access Counselor’s office, the Illinois State Board of Elections, the Attorney General’s office, etc.
A Midlothian Valerie Midlothian Code Re-Write
Title 1, Chapter 5, Section 4 = President; Duties
First passed: May 10, 1927 | No modifications recorded
Sterling Codifiers Version
1-5-4 President; Duties
The president shall sign all commissions and permits granted by the authority of the Board of Trustees and grant or revoke all licenses, except as otherwise provided by law, and perform such other acts as may be required by the provisions of this code or other laws of the Village.
He shall supervise the conduct of all officers of the Village, examine the grounds of all reasonable complaints made against any of them, and cause all their violations of duty and other neglects to be property punished or reported to the proper tribunal for correction.
He shall appoint, by and with the consent of the Board of Trustees, all officers whose appointment is not, by the laws of this state or the provisions of this code, otherwise provided for. Whenever any vacancy shall occur in any office, which by law he is empowered to fill, he shall, within thirty (30) days after the occurrence of such vacancy, communicate to the board the name of his appointee to such office. Pending the concurrence of the Board of Trustees in such appointment the President may appoint some suitable person to discharge the duties of such office.
Midlothian Valerie Version
1.5.4 President; Duties
A. The Village President shall sign all documents as may be required by the provisions of this municipal code or other laws of the State of Illinois or the United States of America, including;
1. All commissions and permits approved by a majority of the Board of Trustees;
2. Grant or revoke all licenses, except as otherwise provided by law.
B. The Village President shall supervise the conduct of all officers of the Village, examine the grounds of all reasonable complaints made against any of them, and cause all their violations of duty and other neglects to be property punished or reported to the proper tribunal for correction.
1. In the event the conduct of the President brought into question, the Board of Trustees shall have the complaint examined by the Village Attorney. If the Attorney determines the complaint can be potentially resolved at the local level, the _____________ Board will convene to hear the complaint.
C. The Village President shall appoint, by and with the consent of the Board of Trustees, all officers whose appointment is not, by the laws of this state or the provisions of this code, otherwise provided for,
1. including but not limited to;
a. Village Treasurer (Midlothian Municipal Code 1-7)
b. Deputy Clerk (Midlothian Municipal Code 1-6-12)
c. Village Attorney (Midlothian Municipal Code 1-8)
d. Ethics Advisor (Midlothian Municipal Code 1-19-6)
e. Emergency Management Agency Director
f. Police Department Chief and Deputy Chief (Midlothian Municipal Code 3-1-3A)
g. Fire Department Chief and Deputy Chief (Midlothian Municipal Code 3-2-1A(2))
h. Director of Public Relations (Midlothian Municipal Code 1-13)
i. Village Health Officer (Midlothian Municipal Code 1-16-2)
j. Village Administrator (Midlothian Municipal Code 1-22-2)
2. Whenever any vacancy shall occur in any office, which by law he is empowered to fill, he shall, communicate to the board the name of his appointee to such office within thirty (30) days after the occurrence of such vacancy.
3. Pending the approval of the majority of the Board of Trustees, the President may temporarily appoint someone to discharge the duties of such office. Any continuance of such appointment must be reviewed and approved by a majority of the Board for an additional 30 days after the expiration of the temporary appointment and each subsequent extension.