Champaign Co. (ECWd) –
It appears once again, citizens have had enough of unelected officials running their local public bodies. The citizens circulated petitions to ask the voters if they wanted their Water District trustees elected or appointed and the people spoke with their vote.
The Board Chairman held onto those petitions until the last possible hour while facing court action to turn them in as required by law to get the question on the ballot. Once the question was placed on the ballot a flyer was sent out in support of electing trustees vs having the Champaign County board make the appointment. Those flyers resulted in the use of public resources in an attempt to sway the election by the District publishing a press release that had all the makings of electioneering. They corrected their press release 37 minutes after we exposed it and we understand have agreed to take no more steps to interfere with the election after becoming aware of a request for a temporary restraining order on the matter.
According to the Champaign County Elections Summary, 1,311 votes were cast of which 963 voted YES to elect the Trustees. With 73% voting YES versus 26.54% voting NO, the people’s voice is clear, they want a direct say in who operates their local water district.
While the appointed trustee process permits anyone in the county to be appointed, the law specifically requires trustees that are elected to be a resident of the District. We note three board members are not residents of the District which means they will not qualify to seek such a position when the election of these members takes place.
We understand the attorney for the District recently filed a writ of mandamus to force the County to appoint a person to fill an alleged vacancy. We find that most interesting as they are silent about the fact a person resigned from the board in May yet is still sitting on the board.
We urge everyone to read the numerous articles we have published about the Water District found at this link.