Updated: October 21, 2012 3:02PM
YORKVILLE — The Kendall County Board has unanimously approved changes to the county’s ethics ordinance.
The most significant change was growing the size of the Ethics Commission from three to five members.
The commission would have trouble meeting with only three members if one was not available. Also, with only three members, State’s Attorney Eric Weis had said two members would have trouble having a simple conversation without violating the Open Meetings Act.
Another change is designating the State’s Attorney as the place the Ethics Commission would report findings they think deserve possible prosecution. The current ordinance says the commission should refer such matters to an attorney designated by the County Board.
Weis admitted this could set up a conflict, if the state’s attorney’s office has previously advised someone on an ethics matter that the commission later finds fault with. So, the changes also give the state’s attorney’s office the authority to request a special prosecutor from the courts, if such a conflict arises.
The changes also included giving the commission 21 days to act on a matter before it, instead of just seven.
The Ethics Commission is complaint-driven, meeting only when a complaint is filed. The commission hears about matters of conduct by County Board members, county employees and elected officials. Commissioners report their findings to the state’s attorney if further action is necessary.
Under the changes, the County Board Chairman would appoint all the commission members, with the consent of the rest of the board. There should be three members of one political party, and two of the other.
Board Chairman John Purcell said a person does not need to be a Democrat or Republican to apply for a position on the board, however. A member could belong to another party, such as the Green or Libertarian parties, he said.