Cherry Valley village attorney lacking understanding of common law principles?

Editor’s note: The following was addressed to Senior Assistant Editor Brandon Reid in response to his Jan. 14-20 article, “Attorney General Opinions Bureau: Cherry Valley village president should not also serve as budget director.”

Dear Mr. Reid,

In your article, Assistant Attorney General Kristin M. Creel, chief of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s (D) Opinions Bureau, explained “… based on common law principles which have been incorporated into Illinois law by section 1 of the Common Law Act …, a village president may not serve simultaneously as the village’s budget director, if the budget director is appointed under section 8-2-9.1 of the Municipal Code.” This opinion is also shared by Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato, as quoted in your article. Attorney Jim Stevens, the attorney for Cherry Village, seems to be having trouble understanding the above information as to the common law principles.

If President James Claeyssen sees fit to appoint himself budget director and is also liquor commissioner and now is acting as temporary village administrator, will we next hear that he is now public works director and chief of police? He was elected as president with the salary of $14,400. Now, after he appointed himself to be budget director, that increases his salary by $6,000. Liquor commissioner pays him $300 more. Bringing the amount of money that the village of Cherry Valley is paying this “part-time mayor” to $20,700. Not bad for a part-time mayor in a village of 3,000 residents!

The auditors that the village has been using have also stated that there were too few checks and balances when the president/budget director/temporary village administrator and the treasurer of the village are the only two people running the village. They recently changed auditors. It might be just a coincidence!

What is so confusing, Attorney Stevens?

Thank you, Mr. Reid, for all your work on this interesting article.

Colette Rudis
Cherry Valley, Illinois

From the Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2015, issue

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