Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
The Shelby County Board meeting Thursday night was filled with shocking events, the first being the lightning strike delivered by the forensic auditor, which we covered in this article.
During this week’s county board meeting, the County Highway Engineer Alan Spesard gave his typical presentation and confirmed it was his last meeting as he is retiring.
Who is Alan Spesard? He is none other than one of the two county employees that formed Shelby Engineering and engaged in self-dealing for years at the expense of the taxpayers by operating their private business out of the County Highway Department. Such an action violates the Illinois Constitution and in most parts of this state would be considered Official Misconduct.
- County Highway Engineer operating a private business out of County Highway Office
- County Highway Engineer files false or incomplete Statement of Economic Interest for years
- Shelby Engineering using the public facility and doing private business during County working hours – WAND – 17
- Federal Criminal Investigation possibly lead to resignation
After Spesards presentation, one board member, John Pouge, asked a simple question to Spesard.
“Do you feel like Shelby Engineering was a mistake?”
While the question was completely appropriate considering all the self-dealing Spesard has engaged in, the Chairman of the Board chose to claim Pouge was out of order, forgetting that he had the floor. Seeking answers from an employee who has engaged in such self-dealing for years is hardly out of order. In fact, its in order and long overdue as this board has failed to even discuss the matter for over a year.
As if that was not shocking enough, board member Jeff Slifer chose to apologize on behalf of the board for Pouge’s comment. We find that out of order, just as the Chairman confirmed when it happened. Slifer should apologize for attempting to speak for an entire board when it’s clear he does not. Anyone who felt getting answers from an employee is wrong should resign.
The final shocker was from none other than Gary Patterson, the current Vice-Chairman. Rather than recognize the magnitude of self-dealing that Spesard and his partner have engaged in for years, at the county taxpayers’ expense, Patterson rises to compliment Spesard for the work he has done. Patterson has no business in public office as it is clear from his comments as well as his failure to address the sheriff’s payroll concerns covered by the forensic auditor. His interest appears to be in grandstanding rather than fixing what is clearly broken.
It was sad to see so many board members clap after Patterson’s comments as all they did were condone self-dealing at the expense of the taxpayers. Such actions help to explain why Shelby County is in the mess it’s in. There is zero accountability when laws are broken by public sector officials.
The video is set for this portion of the meeting and can be viewed below.
janniePosted at 16:12h, 17 October
Well, the whole thing is strange & wrong – but so much of what goes on does seem to be “what’s right”, but are you part of the “group”, good ole boys, or whatever. I once attended a county board mtg. “different county” where an individual (I guess he did nick pick things), but this was an important thing — couple things — that were in error in the board minutes & he want them corrected before they were approved. They weren’t so were approved inaccurate – this wasn’t a period vs. comma, but content – go figure. People just wanted to “put him in his place” and approved inaccurate minutes.
PKPosted at 18:14h, 17 October
In the pejorative, detail oriented folks are called nit pickers, a reference to head lice.
But “nick picker” is equally negative. Those damn nick pickers…always nick picking at this, that, and the other.
In Shelby County, Illinois it took an auditor to catch the ‘2011’ error written into the law enforcement contract the county entered into years later.
John PoguePosted at 16:37h, 17 October
Looks like a majority of shelby county board members see no wrong-doing from their county engineer. Receiving a county salary while running his own private firm in the county supplied office is ok? The saddest part are those who congratulated him. Only in Illinois.
Justice SeekerPosted at 08:05h, 20 October
Not only running his business out of the county building but doing city of Shelbyville work and Shelbyville Engineering work (receiving pay) all while on county time and receiving a county paycheck. Double and triple dipping off of taxpayers. Not to mention his business partner was an assistant county engineer doing city of Shelbyville and Shelbyville Engineering while on the clock at the county receiving a county paycheck! There is no justice and two State’s Attorneys who refuse to do their elected official duties and prosecute.
I believe it was the current state’s attorney who made a public statement that if you do not prosecute, they will come. Public corruption is no different than drug dealers. I also believe it was the forensic auditor who said Shelby County makes it very very easy to commit fraud.
Beware taxpayers!!! More will come as long as current state’s attorney refuses to protect you.
PKPosted at 17:04h, 17 October
Most unfortunately, neither Sifler nor Patterson recognized the Chairperson’s gavel.
Unless the status of the criminal investigation was known at the time, the simple question would not be appropriate. The applause seemed to be the person, not the professional license or business practices of Mr. Spesard and/or his partnership at Shelby Engineering.
Patterson’s excessive praises were, in the moment, quite painful.
JimPosted at 20:16h, 17 October
So this is what “White Privilege” looks like.
PKPosted at 21:13h, 17 October
Really good to know that a proper county web-site development is underway. That news may be a welcome surprise to Shelby County’s immediate neighbors. Counties neighboring Shelby are shown here:
The map also differentiates between commission and township forms of county government. Board members advocating to be like other counties on the farm ground lease/rent issue would do well to know the form of county government each of the counties previously reported by Ms. Kronke to be engaged with renting/leasing county owned land for farming are organized under. It would be appropriate to rule out counties organized under the commission form in such a comparison.
Next, of the township forms currently renting/leasing, it would behoove board members to have more details about the arrangements, especially with regard to how the counties use the proceeds. Are proceeds used for a specific public purpose with a supporting fund account or are they aggregated in the general fund? For example, do any of the counties use farm ground proceeds to fund intergovernmental agreements with special education districts they are members of?
PKPosted at 12:39h, 25 October
The county map linked in the comment above shows Champaign County as being organized under the township form of county government. However, according to the Champaign County web-site, the county adopted the home rule form of county government in 2016. The claim to be the second in the state to do so (without naming the first) does well to attempt to distance themselves from the culture of corruption associated with Cook County government, the first to adopt home rule. Before it becomes too late, let’s continue to hold the Champaign county seat and board to account for delivery on their implied promise.
Jack TarletonPosted at 09:39h, 18 October
No, Jim, this is “red privilege,” as in “rednecks.”