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September 28, 2022

Mayor Sanders’ Spineless Christmas Letter –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On November 19, 2014

MARSHALL, IL. (ECWd) –

Well, it’s that time of year again…the time of year where elected officials refuse to take responsibility for their actions, and blame those paying attention.

It is common knowledge that public funds cannot be used for gifts, well, at least to those that can read.

Generally, any “bonus”, the cleverly disguised term for Christmas Gift this time of year, must be spelled out in an employee’s contract or employment agreement. When placed in the contract or agreement, it must be tied to a measurable outcome, or a measurable performance standard – over and above any regular duty performance.

Absent anything written into an employment contract or employment agreement, anything of value given is a gift.

Last year, a local newspaper in DeWitt County tried blaming us for employees and county board member declining gift cards for these “bonuses” that are clearly in violation of the law.

This year, instead of simply stating that gifts are a violation of the law, Mayor Sanders takes the spineless way out and quotes the city attorney, who in turn blames “government investigative groups”. Like it is the fault of people like us that gifts of public cash were not authorized by the legislature of this great state.

Additionally, when it comes to anything of value for an alderman or any other elected official (or someone appointed to a vacant elected position), these would be considered an increase in compensation during their term of office. Which, once again, violates the law.

Furthermore, he states the the “Employee Relations Committee” and himself decided to “gift” all employees a $25 gift certificate. For starters, no committee of any public body has any authority to take action on any item. It is the duty of the entire city council to make that determination, and only if it is in full compliance with the law. Now I am wondering if “gifts” are included in any union agreements with the city.

Public funds belong to the citizens, not the mayor and the employee relations committee.

[gview file=”https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Christmas-Party-Memo.pdf”]

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5 Comments
  • Joe Citizen
    Posted at 22:25h, 19 November

    What a bunch of – well, at first, I think “goofs” but that woul imply ignorance of the law & lack of intent, so, I change my assertion to “crony lowlifes!” Who offers OR accepts these gifts of tax payer money with a clear conscience ?

  • Dave L...
    Posted at 06:38h, 20 November

    Bonus?? Those people get paid enough…..

  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 10:17h, 20 November

    In my opinion -There’s quite a bit more to this incident. Naturally we all know it’s the blame game. Mayor Sanders does not account for his own failings in this matter. Nor does he let us know that two of the members of the employee relations committee, specifically Bev Church (you readers already know about her problems) and Vickie Wallace DID NOT EVEN ATTEND LAST YEAR’S CHRISTMAS PARTY.
    This was my answer to Mayor Sanders’ letter via e-mail sent to me by Elizabeth Richey: “Sorry to hear about the cancellation. I wasn’t told anything about the possibility before any decision was made. Reflecting back, however, I recall that a suggested summer picnic was also dropped and last year the Christmas attendance was down considerably from the previous year. I remember the Mill Creek Christmas party was the same night and Bev and Vickie did not attend last year’s party. You did, however, work hard on the previous Christmas parties (this was to Elizabeth the sender).”
    There’s been a distinct lack of enthusiasm about city events (both business and employee) since Mayor Sanders has taken control. The problem started BEFORE any “turmoil” did.
    I realize that years ago in previous administrations there was more incentive to attend. There was an open adult beverage free bar and also music entertainment. Until last year, additional gifts were made available to suit your choice of what had been bought and left for your selection.
    Four of the city aldermen were not aware of the cancellation decision until a relative of a city employee asked another alderman if and why the party was cancelled. One appointed official told me that the employees had voted not to have a party. An hourly employee shortly thereafter told me there was no employee vote. I was told that Alderman Bev Church went to city garage and discussed it with them. I made a point to seek out and chat with the third member of the employee relations committee Alderman Strait because, well, you know… According to Alderman Strait there was “too much turmoil in the council” was supposed to be the employees’ reason (sounds like an election year political statement to me). Later the same day, the memo arrives from Mayor Sanders.

  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 16:27h, 20 November

    I tried to post a comment earlier about the blame game, but it didn’t apparently take. In my opinion – Please understand that four of the aldermen (myself included) knew nothing about the Mayor and Employee relations committee action until we learned of it when one of those four aldermen was asked by a relative of a city employee why the Christmas party was cancelled. the city council is split between the four insiders and the four outsiders. You can figure out who gets informed and who doesn’t. What isn’t noted by the Mayor and the Watchdogs aren’t aware is that two members of the employee relations committee (Bev Church and Vickie Wallace) DID NOT ATTEND THE CHRISTMAS PARTY LAST YEAR.
    My response to Mayor Sanders’ letter: “Sorry to hear about the cancellation. I wasn’t told anything about the possibility before any decision was made. Reflecting back, however, I recall that a suggested summer picnic was also dropped and last year the Christmas attendance was down considerably from the previous year. I remember the Mill Creek Christmas party was the same night and Bev and Vickie did not attend last year’s party.”
    I have no problem with and will vote for those bonus gifts for the employees if given the opportunity. I don’t want anything myself because I’m not in this to make money. If we want to do something for the kids of the employees, I have no problem. It’s probably against the law, but if it isn’t, I would buy two rounds at the Corner WITH MY OWN MONEY for the employees who partake and call it Christmas.

    NOW: As for blaming the Watchdogs, That’s Bullsh*t. Playing politics with a Christmas party is Bullshit. Camie, you and your cronies have a problem; IT’S CALLED NO CLASS.

    Warren J. Le Fever Alderman Ward 3 City of Marshall

  • Joe Citizen
    Posted at 22:05h, 20 November

    Pretty telling that the Mayor is putting more emphasis on what you guys think & say vs. her putting forth an explanation / argument of why giving the gift certificates is in fact legal & proper. It appears she just wants to avoi the scrutiny for fear her actions will, in fact, be seen as improper & result in legal review.
    Why reverse her actions, if they were legal ethical & proper?
    Where is (more importantly – WAS) the city attorney on all of this?

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