Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mayor and County Board Member

The below story is wrong with our government.  I will be writing more about this at a later date.

Legislation Would Ensure DiCianni Can Serve as Mayor and County Board Member

Democratic Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park filed the amendment in response to State's Attorney Robert Berlin's opinion that the two positions are incompatible.
Illinois Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th, Oak Park) has introduced legislation that spells out in no uncertain terms that an official may simultaneously hold the offices of mayor and county board member.

The Illinois Channel, which provides unedited coverage of state government proceedings, announced via Twitter Wednesday afternoon that the measure was working its way through a Senate committee.

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin had previously issued an opinion that the two positions are incompatible. Berlin issued that opinion in response to Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni's desire to simultaneously serve on both DuPage County Board District 2 (if elected) and as mayor of Elmhurst. Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, who is running for a seat in DuPage District 3, also has expressed a desire to retain his mayoral position if elected to the County Board.

If the proposal is approved by the full Senate, Berlin's opinion would be moot.

Harmon's measure is an amendment to Senate Bill 3332, the Public Building Commission Act.

The amendment (attached to this article) states: "The General Assembly finds and declares that questions raised regarding the legality of simultaneously holding the office of county board member and elected office of another unit of local government are unwarranted; that the General Assembly viewed the elected office of another unit of local government and the office of county board member as compatible; and that to settle the question of legality and avoid confusion among such counties and other units of local government as may be affected by such questions, it is lawful to hold the office of county board member simultaneously with an elected office of another unit of local government."

The amendment would allow a mayor to hold elected office on the DuPage County Board as long as there is no "disqualifying contractual relationship" between the county and the other unit of government.

Contractual relationships that are allowed, according to the amendment, include:
  • contracts involving Homeland Security programs
  • emergency management and assistance
  • storm water management and assistance
  • environmental protection or enhancement
  • energy conservation programs
  • mutual aid agreements regarding crime prevention or law enforcement activities
  • grants administered by a county or unit of local government funded by either the federal or state government
Those uses, among others, are "not disqualifying contractual relationships," according to the proposed amendment.

An article in the Daily Herald said the legislation does not address the issue of elected officials' pensions.

"The legislation is silent" on whether elected officials can receive multiple pensions, said Terry Pastika of the Citizens Advocacy Center in Elmhurst.
DiCianni said last month if he is elected to the County Board, he will give up his $6,000 mayoral pay and only collect the $50,000 County Board salary. He also said he will sign up for the county's pension plan.
"I'm willing to give up my mayoral pay, compensation and pension to do this job. I'm willing to do two jobs for the price of one," DiCianni said.
It is not clear whether the mayor is legally able to give up his city pension.

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