Coles Co. (ECWd) -
We reported on the Sheriff's debate in this article and even provided the video. We did so because it was clear we could not count on local reporting to actually point out false statements.
The paper reported that Steve Spear made the following statement: “None of the previous sheriffs have been over budget,” Spear said.
We must assume that statement was made after the debate as we were not able to locate such a statement with two reviews of the video. Regardless, the paper reported it as a quote from Steve Spear.
We heard the same garbage from the former Sheriff Darrel Cox in his campaign flyers when he ran for State Representative. We urge you to at least watch the video in this article and preferably read the whole article to see how things have been operated in the past Coles County Sheriff's office that Spears points to. At the bottom of that article are links to those budget reports that clearly disprove Spear's statements.
The fact of the matter, Spears is flat wrong to imply none of the past sheriffs were over budget when the public audits prove him wrong. The fact he made such a statement tells us he is being a politician, has not checked the facts, and hopes no one else does, including the paper who spread his lie.
Another quote that was of interest reported by the paper was this one from Steve Spear: “The sheriff’s office ended the fiscal year of 2017 $162,000 over budget just in the salary line item alone,” Spear said. “This is unacceptable.”
We have requested a copy of the final budget numbers and will report the full budget history, not just a line item. We found it strange that there was no mention of what the total budget number was, only a line item that is over budget. Is it possible a lot of other areas are well within budget and offset the salary line item? You won't get that information from the paper so check back with us for the full story.
One thing that is simple to report are the previous two budgets that came from Sheriff Rankin. Yes, he has been in office three years, however, his first budget was set by the previous Sheriff. According to the final audited budget numbers from the Illinois Comptroller, Sheriff Rankin was under budget for both of his last two audited budgets.
For the fiscal year ending 2016, the following are underbudget numbers from the filed audit with the state. (See figures starting on page 30 of the pdf, 24 of the audit pages)
- Public Safety total under budget - $88,431.00
- Security total under budget - $15,045.00
- Corrections total under budget -$58,206.00
- Total under budget for 2016 - $161,168.00
While one could cry wolf looking at the line item for the salary that year, which was $59,632.00 over budget, it is clear the overall budget was well under the forecasted figures, which is what a budget is all about.
For the fiscal year ending 2015, the following are underbudget numbers from the filed audit with the state. (See figures starting on page 30 of the pdf, 24 of the audit pages)
- Public Safety total under budget - $27,367.00
- Security total under budget - $6,415.00
- Corrections total under budget $29,769
- Total under budget for 2015 - $63,551.00
While one could cry wolf looking at the line item for the salary that year as well, which was $73,473.00 over budget, it is clear the overall budget was well under the forecasted figures, which is what a budget is all about.
As you can see, it's not hard to get the truth but it does take some work. Work that appears to be too difficult for Candidate Spears and the local paper.
Fact checking is very important element when it comes to our elections as the voters should be informed. We encourage a demand for the answer to two simple questions. Says Who and With What Proof?
We hear and read a lot of things being said by Steve Spear, however, there has yet to be any proof to support the claims he made that we pointed to in our articles. Spear gets a Pinocchio score of 10 on those items, which means they were all false.
I thought he said he was not a politician?
Another concerning report is what we would call, about half-truth. The paper reported that the union endorsed spear and said: "He said (union's secretary Beatles), about half the union's 40 members were at the meeting and the vote in favor of endorsing Spear was unanimous."
About half? So are we to understand that less than 50% of the members voted to endorse Spear? What kind of an endorsement is that when less than half the members vote? Sadly, we have confirmed several members knew nothing about the meeting where this vote was taken. Regardless, with less than half the union voting to endorse Spear it may well tell us the endorsement is not what people have been lead to believe.