Watchdogs call for Coles County resignations over assessments
Coles County officials involved in the hiring of a third party to conduct property assessments should resign, a citizens oversight group said recently.
On their Illinois Leaks website, the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) detailed the county's response to repeated efforts to get paperwork and information related to the recent property assessments, allegedly performed by someone not compliant with statutory requirements.
Statute requires assessors to be elected by a township or appointed by a township board. Otherwise, the county supervisor of assessments can provide the service, with the township covering costs. The ECW alleges that the Coles County supervisor of assessments contracted this work out to a third party, which is not provided for in county code.
The ECW also says the contract was awarded to Robert Becker, who notes in his bid that he had only limited experience in assessments that he promised to remedy through classes.
The county has since claimed that Becker is not a contracted vendor but an employee, therefore procurement statutes do not apply. According to the ECW, Becker has submitted invoices and has not been subject to tax withholding required for employees. Additionally, when questioning the county chairman about the value of Becker’s bid, the ECW was told it was for a four-year contract.
“These public officials hired an insider to do the job of the Supervisor of Assessments, circumvented the law, got caught, and now have chose the path to lie about out it,” the group posted. “Each and every one of them should resign for their clear inability to be honest with the public.”