Let's take the Peoria County Board. A few of you remember a poorly written article in the JS about a County Board vote to place a referedndum on the ballot about whether or not to eliminate the Recorders office run by a Republican and combine it into the County Clerks office run by a Democrat. Fewer yet may havve noticed that the two most powerful officials on the County Board, Board Chairman Tom O'Neill and Chairman wannabee, Mike Phelan,both Democrats, voted with the Republicans to oppose this action.
So anyone can vote however they want. Right? Yes, but here is the rest of the story. A few years back there was heated debate at the board level and in the press about whether to keep the elected Auditors office run by a Democrat or to make the position an appointed one or whether it should exist at all now that the county has created the new position of a Financial Officer plus the fact that the County hires their own paid internal auditor.
The Democrats where all about leaving the situation as it was and no action was ever take. Now, how does this relate to the Recorders proposed elimination? Once the Democrats counted the votes they knew they could afford to throw a couple votes over to the opposing Republicans hoping to further defer the possibility of the elimination of the Democrat run Auditors office. This maneuver often happens unnoticed by the voter who believes the elected official is ALWAYS acting for the benefit of the common good.
Best case in point was the County Board vote on whether or not to let PDC expand their current Pottstown location or not. Six of us were selected to sit on a review board and all 6 of us APPEARED to be in favor of the keeping the location based on our listening to six days of expert testimony. The committee, backed by administration, thought we had enough votes in favor of expansion figuring if the 29 year old location was ever going to contaminate the water, which it won't, it would contaminate, expansion or not.
When the final vote was held last voter around the horseshoe was the Board Chairman. This vote was taken VERBALLY against my vehement protestatipons. At break time before the vote the chairman told me privately that he was in favor of the expansion. However, when the verbal vote began around the horseshoe, the vote was 9 against and 7 for when the vote got to him. Seeing that the 'no" voters where going to win, he evidently changed his mind and voted with the no voters.One voter didn't show, possibly afraid to cast a vote either way. Had the one Democrat voter shown up to vote yes as he said he was going to, then the charman probably have voted yes and a 9-9 vote would have allowed espansion savings businesspeople and taxpayers millions of dollars over the years.
No way should have this vote been verbal. Also the committee that sat through all the testimony, was to present our findings to the full 18 member board. This never happened. Why not? Ask Patrick Urich, our administrator at that time now struggling as Peoria City Manager.
Possibly to make amends, the Chairman later enthusiastically promoted PDC to replace Waste Management as the approved hauler and manager of the City/County Landfill on Cottonwood road.
Another voting anomaly occurred when Republicans in Caucus agreed to support a Democrat for Chairman. When the vote came verbally. this vote should always be private, the two top Republicans changed their vote to another Democrat who won. The Democrat who won learned what they did and the top Republican didn't get the committee chairmanship he thought he was promised.
Me, I voted for the Democrat the Republicans had agreed on. Such is politics most people never hear about. That why newspapers are struggling. They can't afford investigative reporters.