Motive Behind HB4965 Sponsored by Sandy Cole

Rep. Sandy Cole
Rep. Sandy Cole

Is Illinois Representative Sandy Cole simply politicking at tax payers expense? After reading HB4965 I couldn’t help but think that the bill is nothing more than a political jab at her upcoming opponent, Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling.

SYNOPSIS OF HB4965 AS INTRODUCED:

60 ILCS 1/55-70 new

Amends the Township Code. Provides that after the effective date of the amendatory Act, in any township that is the subject of a legal settlement or judgment from a court of law for wrongful discharge of an employee, each officer, member, or employee of that township must complete an ethics training course. Sets forth requirements concerning the standards, frequency, and subject matter of the course. Provides that completion of the program must be certified in writing. Effective immediately.

As the rest of us suffer due to poor fiscal management at the hands of the State, Representative Sandy Cole has introduced House Bill 4965, nicknamed, ‘the Unethical Ethics Bill’ in the Illinois House Counties and Townships Committee (which has now been re-referred to the Illinois House Rules Committee).

The nickname resulted from Cole’s political use of the State’s legislative process under the guise of ethics reform. The substance of the bill – humorous if it weren’t true – proposes ethics training for township officials after perceived ethics violations have occurred. Further, it stipulates that ethics training will be conducted by the Township Officials of Illinois (TOI), an organization which itself is under scrutiny for dubious ethical practices.

Our State is in the midst of its worst budget crisis ever and Cole is spending time and taxpayer dollars playing political games, further earning her the title of a “Do Nothing Legislator”. Instead of political posturing she should focus on putting the unemployed of our district back to work.

If Cole is really for ethics reform she should reform the Illinois Township Code, which was drafted in the 1850’s and omits checks and balances. Why doesn’t she set specific ethics standards for townships, as there are none, which would address a problem BEFORE it happened? Additionally, why is this “ethics” bill only geared to townships? Why not expand it to municipalities, counties, school boards, and THE STATE?

Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling
Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling

The answer is simple. Cole isn’t really interested in improving government; she’s interested in political hay, which she clearly plans to use against her November opponent, Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling. The Township Officials of Illinois, who have made Yingling the target of its consternation for his work to reform the township code they vehemently want unchanged, raised the ante after Yingling appeared in an NBC and CBS News report criticizing TOI for giving government pensions to its non-governmental employees, including lobbyists.

Immediately following the news reports, TOI’s Risk Management arm paid $450,000 to former employees of the defeated Avon Township Assessor; one of whom is his brother, who alleged they were fired for political reasons. The payout was done without the approval of the Avon Township Board, which had previously informed TOI’s Risk Management arm of its disapproval of the settlement.

TOI and its agents duped reporters by claiming Avon had agreed to a settlement and its taxpayers would foot the bill. Both claims were false and reporters set the record straight. You can read the Daily Herald article HERE.

But that doesn’t stop Sandy Cole from playing loose with the facts, resurrecting a false allegation and, now, at government expense, having an empty solution that reeks of political gain. Take note of my prediction now: Sandy Cole will use this meaningless piece of legislation to attempt to distort the facts against her opponent come November in both mailers and our all favorite, ROBO CALLS.

It’s time for Sandy Cole to start working for the people that sent her to Springfield and stop abusing her time there for her own political gain.

Editors note: I had requested a response to a number of questions regarding HB4965 from Ms. Cole such as her motivation in creating the bill, why it only applies to Townships, the need for government involvement, why the TOI was selected to teach the ethics course, the anticipated costs to implement and train township personnel, why she felt that Townships couldn’t implement their own ethics training similar to what the Chicago Public Schools just did after a scandal involving their food director, and whether she plans to mirror this legislation to include other governmental bodies.
I did not receive any type of response from Rep. Sandy Cole as of 6:30 PM this evening.

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