South Jacksonville’s outgoing village president appears to be giving the village at least one more dose of controversy before stepping down in a few days.
Acting Village President Steve Waltrip tells WLDS-WEAI News that Gordon Jumper, who is retiring effective Sunday, ordered a backup of Village Hall’s computer systems today. Waltrip says the village board of trustees has “no clue” why it’s happening.
Waltrip says he’s been in contact with Village Attorney Allen Yow.
“He tried to talk with Gordon Jumper about not being able to do this, but I think that may have fell on deaf ears,” says Waltrip.
Amid speculation that today’s backup event would be happening earlier this week, many people on the Morgan County Watchdogs Facebook page questioned why the village board didn’t attempt to take action to force Jumper’s removal from office prior to his step-down date.
While Waltrip says the board didn’t anticipate something like this happening, he says removing Jumper sooner was discussed with the Village Attorney Yow. Here’s what Waltrip says Yow told trustees:
“We have no control. We can’t remove the man, short of criminal actions. I don’t know if we are at that level yet,” says Waltrip.
Waltrip acknowledges that many people will find the timing of today’s activity suspicious.
“I’m sure a lot of people are suspicious, and rightfully so,” he says.
“It’s out of character, I’d tend to believe. Again, it’s a situation that’s gotta play itself out, and if there’s anything that would cause criminal damage, that would be taken care of immediately.”
We were told Jumper was at Village Hall this morning, but when we arrived, he had already left. Multiple calls left for him were not immediately returned this morning.
One village trustee and one village police officer were supervising the process at Village Hall, according to Village Clerk Dani Glascock.
“The trustees had a concern that the backup needed to be done under supervision, based on past experiences. That backup will be turned directly over to the police department when it is completed. The vendor has assured us that they can encrypt it so that nothing can be changed once they do the backup,” says Glascock.
One of the officials who said he was doing the backup this morning said he was from a company called Zobrio in Springfield.
This isn’t the first time a backup of village computers has caused controversy.
A section of the 2014 Illinois State Police report of alleged wrongdoing by village officials at Village Hall details a backup that was done several days after former village clerk Linda Douglass was interviewed by Illinois State Police.
The activity was reported to state police by one South Jacksonville police officer.
Jumper claimed the “backup” order stemmed from a request for information from state police.