Friday, October 13, 2006

I guess the rules — and ethics — are different in Pekin

A month or so ago, I emailed Peoria City Councilman Bill Spears with a question having to do with the race for the 92nd District in the Illinois House of representatives. He sent me a reply, saying that he cannot use city email for anything having to do with his campaign.

And now, we have Pekin City Councilman Daryl Dagit, who used his city email to send invitations to the opening of 91st District campaign headquarters to all city of Pekin employees. I have no idea what advice if any Peoria City Attorney Randy Ray gave Councilman Spears. I'm guessing if there was any advice it would have been to err on the side of caution and not use any city resources on the statehouse campaign. In general, I find most members of the council go to extraordinary lengths to avoid conflicts.

But the ethical sensibilities must be different over in the Marigold City. The city attorney over there says that it's perfectly legal. His exact words were "much ado about very, very little." Still, the advice given was to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Not a bad idea since their last mayor got his sorry self convinced of using city resources for his own entertainment.

While Dagit no doubt used taxpayer-financed resources to promote his campaign, I doubt the wear and tear on the city's already in place servers amounted to anything measurable in terms of cost. Using email these days is so common, it's sorta like using the phone.

The ethical concern I have is this: Here is a sitting city council member using official city-owned communications systems telling city employees of a political event, which they are "invited" to attend. No matter how that's worded, some folks are going to interpret that as a command appearance. And were the people who attended asked to write a campaign check?

Councilman Spears, a Democrat is running against incumbent Aaron Schock, a Republican. Dagit, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Mike Smith.

Full disclosure: I am a friend of Spears and am supporting his campaign.

Cross posted to Peoria Pundit.

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Jeff Trigg 10:58 PM  

In Pekin, a mayor took out some cash advances off the city credit card at a casino, got convicted, and had to resign. In New Lenox, a village president racks up charges on the village credit card at a strip club and completely gets away with it, besides some bad PR. Yup Billy, things are different in Pekin alright.

Jeff Trigg 11:10 PM  

I had to add ... A Republican States Attorney, Stu Umholtz as a matter of fact, did the right thing, while a Democrat States Attorney let corruption slide, even if the stupid kind.

Will Spears support and vote for Madigan as Speaker of the House? If so, I can't see why anyone would vote him him.

So-Called Austin Mayor 11:31 PM  

I can't wait to find out how the Republican Kane County Board candicate charged with sexually abusing two girls is the fault of the gay-homosexuals.

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