Algonquin Township (ECWd) –
When Algonquin Township Trustee Melissa Victor was contemplating taking an open position for another public body, she asked the Township Attorney for advice on any conflict of interest with serving on both boards (simultaneous tenure).
On June 26, 2017, Algonquin Township Attorney James Kelly billed the Township for a letter to Trustee Victor about simultaneous tenure. The Township has refused to provide a copy of the letter citing attorney-client privilege. We wanted a copy so that we could compare numerous legal opinions already published on this type of issue. We were informed by a Trustee that the letter was believed to be in regards to Victor wanting to be on the Park Board or a something similar. She is currently a candidate seeking a position on the Park Board.
Kelly billed Algonquin Township for 1 hour of work at around $150.00 per hour, and meeting minutes reflect it being paid.
The question of simultaneous tenure is a political candidacy question, for a candidate to have his or her private attorney to answer, not to have a township attorney to answer and bill the taxpayers for such research.
The problem comes when a board member uses an attorney for the public body and township funds to perform legal research to get an answer to their legal question related to any political activities.
Could any of the other candidates use the Township attorney for legal advice concerning their candidacy? I would venture to say that would never happen. So how is it that Trustee Victor thinks it’s OK to expend public funds related to her political candidacy, or future candidacy?
First, she can’t properly fill out a Statement of Economic Interest, now she gets legal advice on simultaneous tenure, for the purpose of her candidacy to another office on the public’s dime.
We did not find any records where the board approved or directed the Township attorney to seek legal research for a political question regarding the simultaneous tenure of any of its board members.