Lerna, IL. (ECWd) -
This is the third month we have attended the Village of Lerna monthly meeting of Trustees.
The first month I explained the conflict of interest between the Village President and his job as full-time Village Maintenance Supervisor. I also mentioned the conflict between a Village Trustee submitting invoices to the village for the village to pay her to mow the yards of repossessed houses.
The second meeting (Sep.) there was considerable discussion on the issue, and the village attorney even spoke up and said that she had told Pearcy a month ago that there was a conflict with those two positions. She resigned as village attorney a couple days later. The village is now without an attorney.
This week, Pearcy was absent, and the acting board president stated (see video below) that they had canceled their special meeting in Sep because Pearcy was ready to resign, but the Illinois Municipal League told him there wasn't a conflict and there was no need for him to resign. So they canceled the special meeting.
During public comment I let them know that they would never receive a letter from the IML stating what they just told the public, and I didn't believe the IML would tell them that. I also said I would buy them dinner if they received a letter from the IML with that information on it.
Yesterday I contacted a representative of the IML and asked for a comment on what they said to Don Pearcy. As I suspected, nothing of the sort was said to him, and below is their written comment:
For publication: “Without knowing the exact details about a situation, our policy is to refer municipal leaders to their city attorney and that was done in the case of Lerna. We advise elected officials to be aware of both real and perceived conflicts of interest and to seek written legal opinions on any topic of concern, since local ordinances may apply and all of the facts are usually not shared over a phone call.”
BRAD COLE, Executive Director
Illinois Municipal League
They referred them (Don Pearcy) to their city attorney... Since their attorney already told them, in a public meeting, that it was a conflict of interest, no further discussion is needed. But I suspect they will continue to stall, and continue to spend village money on various attorney opinions, just to get the same answer. They will never find an attorney to sign his name to a document with the opinion stating that it is perfectly OK for a Village President also having the job of full-time Village Maintenance Supervisor. Never.