Kankakee, IL. (ECWd) -
We interviewed Kankakee County Auditor Jake Lee in March of this year (watch the interview here) about his duties and the county board essentially prohibiting him from performing those duties mandated upon the Auditor in state law.
Today, Auditor Lee filed a lawsuit naming the County, County Board, and Chairman Andrew Wheeler as defendants in a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Mandamus.
The Court appointed DeKalb County State's Attorney to represent the Plaintiff, elected Auditor, and Grundy County State's Attorney to represent the Defendants, Kankakee County Board.
Kankakee County has hired a "Finance Director" - prescribed his duties - and prohibited the Auditor from performing the Auditor's statutory duties while paying the Finance Director to perform those statutory duties of the Auditor.
The county even established policies reflecting this, purchased software for the finance director, and does not provide reasonable access to the Auditor.
From the Complaint:
- There is no constitutional, statutory or common law legal authority that would allow for the Kankakee County Board, or its officers, employees and agents, to alter the statutory duties of elected officials such as the Auditor. In fact, 55 ILCS 5/5-1087 expressly states that, “[n]o county board may alter the duties, powers and functions of county officers that are specifically imposed by law.”
- It is also well settled law that county boards within the State of Illinois, cannot exercises powers unless expressly granted to them by the legislature or unless they arise therefrom by necessary implication. Redmond v. Novak, 86 Ill. 2d 374, 382 (1981).
- Instead, they have engaged in a relentless course of conduct to not only remove the powers of the County Auditor, but to then transfer such powers to other officials, including a Finance Director who is acting as the internal auditor and accountant in place of Plaintiff. This is usurpation and is an infringement on the law.
Read the Complaint below - it reads similar to our previous article, and further explains the working environment with the county board, the auditor, and the finance director: