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Indicted pol blocks emergency COVID-19 spending

Friday, Mar 20, 2020

* January 15

Piatt County Board Chairman Ray Spencer was issued a warrant for his arrest Monday after being indicted by a Piatt County grand jury on four charges: two counts of official misconduct and two counts of forgery, all Class 3 felonies.

* Today

While the number of counties affected by COVID-19 increases across the state, Piatt County board chairman Ray Spencer has blocked his county’s ability to purchase additional health and cleaning supplies, according to a legal complaint filed against the county board.

Piatt County State’s Attorney Dana Rhoades filed the complaint on Thursday, requesting that the court vacate directives from Spencer to the county’s Emergency Management Agency director, Mike Holmes, that, among other things, have blocked the purchase of gear mandated by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and barred the agency from communicating with news media.

Following budget talks that spanned weeks and drew protests from taxpayers late last year, Piatt County board members approved a budget that underfunded the county’s EMA department, allotting a full-time department only part-time funding.

On March 14, according to the complaint, Spencer directed Holmes that “whatever COVID-19 supplies were needed, the Director must stay within his part-time 2020 operational budget.” […]

Additionally, plans to implement a county-wide, emergency mass notification system were halted due to a lack of funding, despite repeated requests to the board to fund a system that exists in counties that border Piatt.

Because that notification system wasn’t implemented within the county, the EMA “must rely upon the news media outlets and social media outlets to inform the public of emergency information and situations,” per the complaint, which noted Spencer has barred the EMA from doing exactly that.

There’s more, so go read the whole thing. The complaint is here.

Piatt County is between Decatur and Champaign.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

5 Comments
  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    Well, our township supervisor in plainfield was as recently as last week posting memes on his FB page about how this is all just overhyped and an attempt to smear trump.

    And yes, this is the same plainfield that was bragging about still holding their parade last week - until it was finally shut down by wiser non-local authorities.

    You can imagine how well prepared the township is.

    When this is all behind us, and it will be eventually, there are a lot of officials who need to be held accountable under the law for failing to uphold the responsibilities of their office.

    Seems many officials thought holding these offices was the equivalent in responsibility to attending a private supper club.


  2. - McLincoln - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 1:54 pm:

    Politicians behaving badly?


  3. - VerySmallRocks - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 2:59 pm:

    I would be very happy if every township in Illinois would be consolidated or otherwise eliminated. Just be a “real” municipality or merge functions up to a county level. The “supper club” comment by “TheInvisibleMan” was spot on.


  4. - KTM350 - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    Marybury v. Madison all over again.


  5. - JoanP - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 4:09 pm:

    =Seems many officials thought holding these offices was the equivalent in responsibility to attending a private supper club. =

    As someone who is a member of a private club, I can tell you that our board is taking this a lot more seriously than this idjit in Plainfield.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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