McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
In an effort to keep things as simple as possible to minimize claims the former Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner did nothing wrong, we ask a simple question:
How can a Highway Commissioner sell Township property?
The short answer, in compliance with the law. In the case of Robert Miller's sale of Township Trucks prior to leaving office, all indications are the law was not followed.
605 ILCS 5/6-201.17 - .....In single township road districts, sale of road district property including, but not limited to, machinery and equipment shall be subject to elector approval as provided in Section 30-50 of the Township Code.
So for starters, the Highway Code that Miller was bound by outlines the sale of district property "shall be subject to elector approval" as provided in Section 30-50 of the Town Code.
That section points to two types of property, real and personal. Real property is commonly known as real estate, such as land, buildings etc. Personal property is understood to be things such as pickup trucks, machinery etc.
(a) The electors may make all orders for the purchase, sale, conveyance, regulation, or use of the township's corporate property (including the direct sale or lease of single township road district property)....."
The annual meeting agenda from 2017 does not reflect any agenda item for the Electors to approve the sale of any equipment.
Section 30-50 goes on to provide other options for the sale of equipment.
Anytime during the year, the township or township road district may lease or sell personal property by a vote of the township board or request of the township highway commissioner.
The minutes from a year prior to the sale make no mention of the Township Highway Commissioner requesting the sale of property, nor do they contain any vote of the Township Board.
Near the bottom of section 30-50, it provides the power for the highway commissioner to authorize the sale of personal property, which would be things like pick-up trucks. How are they to be sold?
By public auction!
"The township board or the highway commissioner may authorize the sale of personal property by public auction conducted by an auctioneer licensed under the Auction License Act or through an approved Internet auction service."
There was no public auction of the property!
At this point in the reading, Miller supporters are going to brag about the fact those trucks were put out for bid. Yes, they were put out for bid.
Let's point out the violations of that process as well and never mind the fact that is not how they were to be sold by law.
"The following information shall be published or posted with the resolution or personal property sale notice: (i) the date by which all bids must be received by the township or road district, which shall not be less than 30 days after the date of publication or posting, and (ii) the place, time, and date at which bids shall be opened, which shall be at a regular meeting of the township board."
According to the records found here and here, the bid publication date versus the bid received deadline was less than 30 days which is a violation of the law. In addition, the bids were not opened at a regular meeting of the township board, another violation of the law. The publication was March 27th, 2017 with bid opening on April 21, 2017, which clearly is less than 30 days, thus a violation of the law.
Who determines the winning bid when things are put out for bid, which was an option had the procedures been followed outlined in the law?
According to the bid publication, it states:
"The Commissioner reserves the right to reject any or all bids and to waive technicalities"
What does the law say?
"With respect to township personal property, the township board may accept the high bid or any other bid determined to be in the best interests of the township by a majority vote of the board."
Not that it is going to matter much at this point, we also find that Shaw Media cited a statute regarding publication that is not even a state law. There is no 5 ILCS 5/2.1 in our Illinois Compiled Statutes so how is it that the publication was posted, as they claim, in accordance with a law that does not exist?
In light of all the violations of law exposed just with the sale of two trucks we can only imagine how many other violations of law will be found. Rest assured we have several more articles to go as this truck sale has grown legs.
Considering Miller was the past President of Township Officials of Illinois we are now starting to understand a little more as it relates to all the problems we see statewide with how Townships do business.