Thursday, May 13, 2010

Divided Interest?

It's an immutable law of supply & demand: voters demand smaller government & lower taxes and (prior to elections) politicians supply promises to make it happen. Of course, immutable laws are made to be broken, and this one was broke big-time by Senate Bill 3010. This bill gives Illinois townships the authority buy or build new township halls without requiring approval from their voters. Big expansion of government powers. And it passed easily last week -- voted for enthusiastically by both Democrats and small-government Republicans. The McHenryCountyBlog took note of this anomaly ...
Legislators Dissing Voters
blessing Libertarian Senator Dan Duffy for voting against the bill, while blasting just about every other local legislator for supporting SB3010.

Among those other legislators voting YEA was Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. of Mundelein. Which seems unexpected, given that Sullivan can be counted on to promise his voters smaller government & lower taxes every election cycle. Unexpected, until you factor in that Sullivan is also the Fremont Assessor. Fremont as in Fremont Township. Could it be that Sullivan's focus on smaller government is clouded by divided loyalties -- loyalty to his district voters versus loyalty to the Fremont Township board?

It is obvious, we think, that Sullivan, as Fremont Assessor, could benefit from a Bill that would make it easier for a Township to obtain lavish office space. And there is a trend in that direction. Ela Township just billed taxpayers nearly $3 million for a new 11,000 sq/ft Hall. The voters in Grafton Township in McHenry County are fighting a proposed $5 million Hall. Does Fremont Township need/want a new Hall? Shouldn't have Sullivan recused himself from voting on SB3010 -- a clear conflict of interest?


edsullivanjr said...

Nice to see some people are paying attention to what a train-wreck Springfield is. If you can follow a completely non-controversial bill like this one you really have a handle on the complete and utter mismanagement of this state by the Majority Party. By the way, this bill passed with an affirmative vote of 137 out of 177 Senators and Representatives. Something must be amiss if Mr. Redtail has his/her panties in a bunch. Maybe Mr. Redtail needs to hire Mr. BB to do his/her research. Mr. BB seems to have a handle on research.

This bill does not allow a Township to go around the tax cap to raise money. The Township cannot sell bonds as a result of this bill. If they choose to build, purchase, or lease some type of building, the Township board must authorize the transaction and pay for the transaction out of existing funds.

The reasoning for this bill is quite simple. State statute requires a referendum for the approval of such projects when the source of income to pay for the project came from funds borrowed through referendum. The statutes are silent on any potential situation where bonds will not be used for the funding of the project.

I hope this clears up any confusion. Please use my office as a resource any time again in the future.

Rep. Ed Sullivan

redtail said...

Stop trying to change the subject. You completely ignored my point, Ed. What say you about conflict of interest inherent in even voting for something involving township government?

And howcome Dan Duffy voted against it if it was such a "non-controversial bill"?

edsullivanjr said...

Mr. Redtail,

I ignored your point because I had hoped you would go do some research before you made silly accusations of a conflict of interest. At least get your buddy Mr. BB involved as he at least understands how to do research. Last week we voted to continue the 7% solution, or Alternate General Homestead Exemption. This is the law that would cap assessment increases. By your logic I should have recused myself from voting on this bill because it involves assessments and therefore Township government. Sen. Bond and I working with the CAP group passed a bill into law to would bring more sunshine into the assessment process. Where was your condemnation of my vote then?

There is no conflict of interest with my vote because I am not a voting member of the Township Board. I am elected by the people to perform a function of Township government. When it comes to the Town Board I am more akin to a Director of a Department. I have to go to them to approve my budget. They have to approve all my expenditures. The only people that vote on matters pertaining to Township government are the Supervisor and the four Trustees. Got it?

As for why Sen. Dan Duffy voted the way he did I believe the best way to find out your answer is go ask a guy named Dan Duffy.

Rep Ed Sullivan

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to comment on the person who stated that Ela Township billed the residents 3 million for a new Town hall. Please show me the proof. If people want to be vocal they should know their facts. This is how rumours get started.

Crazy4glf said...

1. If legislation allows a large expenditure or encourages a governmental agency to maintain significant reserves with the possible hopes of a cathedral-like office, it goes around the voter and does not encourage good governance. The very good governance that the GOP is demanding across the state and is implying they will implement if elected. Don't let the fact that they haven't yet dissuade you from their promises. (its reminiscent of a recent vote the person, not the party campaign slogan by someone who has failed to vote the issue not with the party since then.)

Mr. Sullivan is creative when responding to specific questions, acting as if what he comments on is actually what was asked. No one mentioned going around tax caps.
The people would be best served without the law in the first place, than with the law which, again, reminds public officials that unspent money is ready for the Pyramid to be build.

2. If a person or party even subtlely benefits from the action of another person or party, there is the appearance of a conflict of interest and one should recuse themselves. The person who holds two governmental positions - unique justifications notwithstanding - and was offered a spot on a jobs task force, should have recused himself, especially since we are told that he is of the more scrupulous party that always avoids conflicts (red lights and other ones), illegal actions (Driver's services, how may I help you?) and questionable behavior. (Jack Ryan, for example?).

Of course, Ms. Topinka's loan forgiveness to the politically connected should not deter anyone from thinking of the grand old party as the protector of all that is prudent, just, and right.

Mr. George Ryan's rather excessive Illinois First program and other legislation approved during a previous administration and the ornate airport terminal at Pate Phillip's DuPage airport should not be seen as untoward outgrowths of Republican 'leadership.'

For someone trying to school us on the importance of prudence, research, and consistency, Mr. Sullivan acts as if he has not engaged in research, lacks awareness of the actions of the
members of his party, and never misses a chance to sling mud.

As the aforementioned demonstrates (wow - tangible substantiation behind a comment - what an idea!), the Dems are not the only party that hold the patent on questionable initiatives.

The Dem's are also not the party that put forth the previous President, (let's not forget Alaksa's last Governor), the Governor of Arizona, and the Governor of Louisiana, who suddenly does not seem to have a problem with government aid to help with the oil spill

(As an aside corporations will not police themselves and BP is not different than Exelon who wants rate increases to pay for the maintenance of their infratructure).

Also, of course Mr. Brady removing his name from questionable legislation before running for state-wide office should be deemed as prudent and transparent but I digress.
Also, his calls for across the board cuts to spending is so imprudent, Mr. Edgar even stated this and it is a rare time that I find myself agreeing with him.

redtail said...

Sorry for not replying earlier. Redtail had to work this weekend.

Mr. Sullivan, you absolutely should recuse yourself from voting on or advocating for anything having to do with townships or assessments. Neither should you be the "go-to guy" for the legislature when it comes to assessments, as you have said on the floor. Reason: No one can be sure that you are not advocating for something that would benefit your office or your colleagues when you involve yourself in legislation that affects your "other job." A legislator who wants to display rectitude and ethical behavior would simply stand down on these issues.

And, yes, I believe that ALL legislators with another government position, particularly an elected one, should recuse themselves from legislation involving their other offices. That's why I wrote this post: I think it's a terrible idea to mix the business of elected offices. You should propose that legislation, in fact, although I'm sure you'd never consider it.

edsullivanjr said...


We are simply going to disagree. I certainly respect your opinion but I just feel differently on the subject of having a conflict of interest in voting on matters pertaining to Township Government. I will give you one last example, SB2332 sponsored by Renee Kosel, (R-Mokena).

I am a co-sponsor of this bill that changes the date by which an assessor takes office. As you should know after the consolidated elections all township officials but the assessor take office the third Monday in May. The assessor takes office eight months later on January 1st. This bill would have the assessor take office at the same time as the rest of the Township officials thereby removing the long lame-duck period for assessors.

There have been four separate incidents throughout the state last year of lame-duck assessors abusing their offices to varying degrees. Lake County was one area of the state that had such an incident. Supervisor Yingling in Avon is working with us to pass this bill as his township had to deal with some suspect expenditures by the outgoing assessor. I was one person that spoke out against these expenditures on this blog. I think you would agree that this is needed legislation.

This bill failed by two votes in the Senate the first time it was called for a vote. Because of my experience as an assessor I was able to go to the Senate floor and explain to the Senators why this was important. The bill did pass the second time and now is in the House on concurrence. If I followed your “advice”, this bill probably would not have passed. While still an uphill battle to get it passed, I believe it will once we get back to Springfield.

Rep. Ed Sullivan

redtail said...


According to Lucy Prouty the building "cost less than the $2.8 million budget". The Daily Herald had the story more than a year ago. See ...


redtail said...

Good for you, Mr. Sullivan, for helping with the "overtime assessors" matter.

However, you will never convince me that double dipping by government officials is a good idea. Every once in a while, it produces a good outcome. Just as a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. The potential for conflict of interest and self-dealing is simply too great when government officials have more than one government job. Which you would probably agree with if you didn't have two of those jobs yourself.

Anonymous said...

We need that law changed regarding the assessor-need the assessor to take office in May like other elected officials. But one question, what happens to the current assessors if they lose the election-do they still receive the remaining pay? Otherwise isn't their pay being illegally reduced?

edsullivanjr said...


The original bill as introduced was fatally flawed in that it would reduce the current term for assessors. I believe that it would be illegal as you cannot change a term of an elected office thereby somewhat invalidating an election. This bill before the House will make the change for the next election of assessors. I realize this means that it will be roughly 7 years before assessors start at the same time as the rest of the Township officers.

Rep. Ed Sullivan