Village trustee, ethics panel member wants group to be revived

By Gary Scott on January 22, 2016 at 1:15pm

The South Jacksonville Village Board is denying the request of a trustee to reconvene an ethics commission formed last year in response to the findings of a 2014 Illinois State Police Report.

Trustee Stacy Pinkerton issued a letter to Harry Jennings and Dan Maddox, the other members of the commission, and to the South Jacksonville Board on Tuesday that said she was “exercising the legal authority vested” in her by village ordinance to reconvene a meeting of the ethics group.

The commission issued a final report last July that concluded “probable cause did not exist to proceed with the” ethics complaint filed by Tyson Manker against former mayor Gordon Jumper, clerk Linda Douglass and police chief Richard Evans after a state police report produced allegations of theft and official misconduct.

Pinkerton said she was doing so to give the commission an opportunity to approve the submission of new material, in addition to the existing ethics commission report, to the new state’s attorney for his filing decisions.

The new material would include requests for prosecutorial assistance from former Morgan County State’s Attorney Bobby Bonjean to the Appellate Prosecutor office, a memo from September when trustees requested a second state police investigation, and a probable cause memo from current South Jacksonville Police Chief Josh Hallock.

In a response yesterday forwarded to our radio station, the village board in denying the request noted that an ethics commission can only act upon receiving a written complaint, and that the “powers and duties of the ethics commission… were discharged upon issuance of the commissions’ June 18th, 2015 report.”

The response letter also notes that village counsel sent correspondence to new Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll on January 4th requesting a meeting to discuss potential criminal violations which the village believes warrants prosecution.

It says, “subsequently, Mr. Noll contacted our Village Attorney and they have scheduled a meeting to discuss the status. The documents in your letter have already been provided to… [Noll] by [Hallock].”

The response ends by saying, “We have and will continue to aggressively pursue the recommendations contained in your… report and sincerely thank you and the other members of the commission for their service.”