County Board Chairman Robert White announced that he is nominating Greg Sims to the Rend Lake Conservancy District Board to replace David Stewart. This is just another example of White’s “shoot from the hip” approach of governing that seems to give very little forethought as to the consequences of his actions. If the nomination of Mr. Sims becomes an “appointment” (which takes the agreement of the Franklin County Board Chairman), it could require a lawsuit to correct this breach.
So, why is the appointment of Mr. Sims so egregious? Well, as your readers may know, Jefferson County gets two appointments to the conservancy district board of directors. One, by law, is an “at large appointment” which means that the individual may reside within the City of Mt. Vernon or in the rural area of the district. The other appointee, by law, must reside in a rural area of the county.
Jere Shaw is the “at large” appointee, and his term does not expire until July of 2015. David Stewart represents the rural areas, and his term has just now expired. Consequently, his replacement must reside outside the city limits of Mt. Vernon. According to the most recent voting records, Mr. Sims lives well within the city limits of Mount Vernon. If Mr. Sims does, in fact, live within the city limits of Mt. Vernon, his appointment to the conservancy district board is illegal, but more importantly it leaves the taxpayers of the rural area without representation. We have heard the phrase, “No taxation without representation” before. Have we not? It is a bedrock principle of our nation.
Of course, it is possible that Mr. Sims has moved or is planning on moving in the near future. It is also remotely possible that he might have been advised to use an address on property that he may or may not own in a rural area. If this last possibility is being considered, I advise against it.
Because I find any of the possibilities just mentioned as unlikely, I suggest that Mr. White familiarize himself with the law and properly vet his candidates for appointed positions more carefully. In doing this, he could save embarrassment for himself, as well as his appointees.
Of course, it would also negate the need to expend funds, which we don’t have, defending lawsuits over such issues.