Citizen Watchdog Training drawing interest from Morgan County

By Ryne Turke on August 17, 2016 at 6:42am

A local watchdog group is encouraging the public to attend an informational session on how to better understand the responsibilities of government officials.

The Citizen Watchdog Training, run by Americans for Prosperity, takes place at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield on Saturday.

Mike Woodyard has been running the Morgan County Watchdog Facebook page since May of 2015.

Woodyard says he was inspired by the Edgar County Watchdog’s success and WLDS’ special report on the Illinois State Police investigation in South Jacksonville, which resulted in the resignation of four public officials.

“These people represent us and we need to keep an eye on what is going on. There have been people that, a lot of the time, things they do aren’t intentional. Just the presence of one person looking at things, you can figure out some of the things that need to be cleaned up,” says Woodyard.

Woodyard notes that Illinois is fairly unique compared to the rest of the country.

“We have more local units of government than pretty much any state in the union. We have school boards, 911 boards, airport boards, county commissioners, village and city boards. You need active people in the community to participate in those. We all have to be responsible for what transpires in our local government.”

Woodyard says the presence of community members at city and village affiliated meetings can, at times, be extremely rare. He hopes to see that trend change.

The free session will provide information on where to look, what to look fo and what questions to ask when it comes to action taken by local government.

The training begins at 8 a.m.