Chatham ethics committee schedules televised apology
The village of Chatham Ethics Ad Hoc Committee met Dec. 20 to schedule a televised apology.
Here are the meeting's minutes, as provided by the committee:
Village of Chatham Ethics Ad Hoc Committee Meeting (Tuesday, December 20, 2016)
Generated by Elaine M Moran on Wednesday, December 26, 2016
1. Call to Order at 3:00 PM by Trustee Dave Kimsey, Chairperson. Attendance: Trustee Dave Kimsey, Trustee Terry Fountain, and Trustee Joe Schatteman. Also: Jewel Brant, Attorney Don Craven representing Mayor Tom Gray as personal counsel, Deputy Clerk Moran, and Attorney Greg E. Moredock, Sorling Northrup Attorneys. 2. Public Comment: Bonnie Bileck restated as previously commented at the December 13, 2016 Ad Hoc Committee Meeting that the Water Quality Interest Group was not directing their ethics complaints at Mayor Gray personally, but as Mayor Gray, the Village of Chatham Mayor. Jewel Brant added an amended complaint to the previous complaints which were addressed at the December 13 Ad Hoc Committee Meeting. She gave a copy of the amended complaint to Attorney Greg Moredock. Attorney Don Craven stated he, as the legal representative of Mayor Tom Gray, would like to speak on Mayor Gray’s behalf waiving any further hearing, Mayor Tom Gray would accept a censure. Kirk Allen, Edgar County Watchdogs group, spoke and asked if Mayor Gray gave his apology publicly, on TV, or other and feels the Mayor should attend a public meeting and apologize for some of his current behavior at the December 13, 2016 Ad Hoc Committee Meeting. Andrea Parker and Jeff Greer both read some informational data that they had received via FOIA requests. 3. Review and discussion of Brant Ethics Complaint: Attorney Greg Moredock spoke to the Ethics Ad Hoc Committee and to the public in attendance regarding a couple issues left to qualify in regards to accuracy: 1) Chester E. Mendenhall Agreement dated 6-30-2008 and who serves the agreement; and 2) the Wholesale Water Agreement and if these two agreements are somehow tied together or independent of one another. The Wholesale Water Agreement was signed 3-23-2010. Jewel Brant wanted the amended complaint filed due to the Mayor’s recent behavior which she felt did not reflect the values of the Village of Chatham. This amended complaint was also brought forward to the Ad Hoc Committee Board. Dave Kimsey stated the Mayor cannot be forced to resign, but the Board can recommend censure. Mayor Gray will be asked to issue a statement at the December 27, 2016 Regular Board Meeting which could include a formal apology to the Village of Chatham. Since several of the complaints had been withdrawn at the meeting on December 13, 2016 most of the discussion was regarding the two mentioned items above in #3. 4. Discussion and potential action of findings and recommendations: Attorney Greg Moredock stated the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee should go through each complaint to determine if each complaint will be dropped since the amended complaint was added and it may influence the other complaints consideration. Trustee Dave Kimsey spoke and based on his understanding of Section 31.03 (N) regarding whether there was validity or not to the complaints gave 5 potential remedies provided by the Ethics Ordinance. Trustee Kimsey’s 5 points were these potential violations and actions that could result in. 1. Violation of ethic’s code by an appointed officer – not applicable to Mayor Gray2. Violation of ethic’s code by an employee – not applicable to Mayor Gray3. Violation of ethic’s code by a Village Board member – is applicable to Mayor Gray4. File an ordinance violation – Possible action5. Requirement of the State’s Attorney to file charges of criminality if facts found that Mayor Gray violated a code of ethics – Potential based on Board action. More discussion related to very specific action to take, and are as follows:. A. Report violations if there are any to the ARCD. However, this is not remedy of the Village Board. B. A vote of “no confidence”. However, this is also not a remedy of the Village Board. C. In regard to the Mayor’s responsiveness to the public, Mayor Gray has been asked to step down as the current Mayor which he has refused to do and as previously recorded, the Mayor cannot be forced to step down as it is not a power of the Village Board. D. Regarding the special treatment of Joe Greene to allow certain activities on easements, this was signed by Del McCord and the SSWC and these entities are not governed by the Village of Chatham codes. Therefore, this is outside the scope of the Board also. E. Regarding the violation of the Open Meeting Act about the public who spoke at meetings were cut off and not allowed to speak was addressed. This was voluntarily withdrawn by Jewel. F. Another complaint about unfair practices of charging for water which was included in the Mendenhall Agreement seemed to have no unethical basis as the Mendenhall Agreement was tied into the Wholesale Water Agreement via a covenant. This covenant was signed and transferred to the South Sangamon Water Commission. Therefore, there were no findings and no action will be taken. Attorney Greg Moredock asked for a Summary Statement from the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee and then the Village Board will need to make a formal motion based on this statement. Motion to determine remedies:The Ad Hoc Ethics Committee finds that the remedies available to the Board are identified on Village Code Section 31.03 N (1) to (5) and as it relates to the complaint are generally limited to Items 3 and 4 and potentially 5, based on Board action. Motion by Trustee Kimsey and second by Trustee Schatteman. Vote taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman Yes, 3 – Yes, 0 – No, and – Abstain. The next item of business was to bring to the table each complaint filed and make a motion and take a vote on what actions will be taken if any. They are listed below with the results of each vote.#1. The violations of ethics as stated by the Water Quality Interest Group should be presented to the ARCD. Motion presented by Trustee Fountain and second by Joe Schatteman was that no action should be taken. The Ad Hoc Committee finds the remedy is not suitable for the complaint filed based on facts obtained. Vote taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman – Yes. 3 – Yes votes, 0 – No, - Abstain. #2. The Water Quality Interest Group is asking Mayor Gray step down as Mayor of the Village of Chatham. Mayor Gray has refused to do this.Motion was presented by Trustee Fountain and second by Trustee Schatteman. note this as voluntarily withdrawn. Vote taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman – Yes. 3 – Yes votes, 0 – No votes, 0 – Abstain #3. SSWC ordinance 11-6 allowed certain activities on easements to Mr. Greene. This was outside the jurisdiction of the Village of Chatham and there are no findings to support ethics violations. Motion: Special treatment of others did not constitute an ethics violation by Mayor Gray. This motion was made by Trustee Kimsey and second by Trustee Fountain. Vote taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman – Yes, 3- Yes, 0 – No, 0 Abstain. #4 Open Meeting Act complaints were voluntarily withdrawn. Motion: The violations regarding the Open Meeting Act have been voluntarily withdrawn. No action will be taken. Motion made by Trustee Kimsey, second by Trustee Fountain. Votes taken: Kimsey – Yes, Fountain – Yes, Schatteman – Yes, 3 – Yes, 0 – No, 0 Abstain. #5 Violations regarding the Wholesale Water Agreement Motion: While it does not concur that services should have been shared in the Agreement as the terms of the purchase agreement were stated in lieu of cash, the methods of the Mendenhall Agreement were disclosed in the agreement itself. Motion made by Trustee Fountain, second by Trustee Schatteman. No vote taken on this item. Look at amended motion. Motion: While it does not concur that the exchange of goods and services as terms of the purchase, in lieu of cash as the easiest or cleanest to follow, the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee finds that the provisions of providing water was offered as consideration in the purchase contract with Mendenhall and that the terms of the agreement followed to SSWC as it took control of the land, and therefore does not constitute “free water” as it relates to the wholesale water contract with the purchase of the land from said parties and in return give use of water at a stated rate over a period of years, this did not constitute free water with the land purchase. No ethics violation. Motion made by Trustee Kimsey, second by Trustee Fountain. Votes taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman – Yes, 3 – Yes, 0 – No, 0 Abstain. #6 Ethics violation by Mayor Gray. Motion: Based on the findings as stated, there was no violation of the Ethics Code of the Village of Chatham. Motion made by Trustee Fountain and second by Trustee Schatteman. Votes taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman – Yes, 3 – Yes, 0 –No, 0 Abstain. #7 Amended Violation of Ethics concerning Mayor Gray. This amended complaint is part of the previous complaints. The Ad Hoc Ethics Committee concurs that there should be consequences for Mayor Gray regarding his actions during a public meeting. Motion: Based upon the actions of Mayor Gray on December 13, 2016 and unbecoming of a Village official, we recommend that the Board continues its request of resignation and apology from the mayor, and absent such, proceed with a censure. The actions exhibited by Mayor Gray is unacceptable as a finding. Motion made by Trustee Kimsey, second by Trustee Schatteman. Votes taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman – Yes, 3 – Yes, 0 – No, 0 Abstain. Continue with censure motions to follow. #8 To be added into the amended violation is a public apology. Motion: Mayor Gray should issue a public apology at the time of a censure. Motion made by Trustee Fountain, second by Trustee Schatteman. Votes taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schatteman – Yes, 3 – Yes, - No, 0 Abstain. #9 Decision to be made who will give the written recommendations/summary statement to the Village Board. Ad Hoc Ethics Committee? or Greg Moredock? Motion: Attorney Greg Moredock will prepare a statement of the conclusions of these violations study by the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee as presented above and present the statement of the conclusions to the Village Board. Motion made by Trustee Kimsey, second by Trustee Fountain. Votes taken: Trustee Kimsey – Yes, Trustee Fountain – Yes, Trustee Schattemen – Yes, 3 – Yes, - No, 0 – Abstain. A question was raised if the final report will need an approval and if it will need approval by the full Village Board which will happen at the December 27, 2016 meeting at 5:45 PM. Also, needing approval are the minutes from the two Ad Hoc Ethics Committee meetings and then finally the termination of the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee. These items need to be addressed at a Special Meeting of the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee on December 27, 2016 at 5:45 PM. 5. AdjournmentMotion was made by Trustee Fountain and second by Trustee Schatteman to adjourn the meeting at 5:20 PM. All others voiced approval. Meeting adjourned. Submitted by,Elaine Moran,Deputy Clerk