The City’s Ethics Board will hear complaints about alleged violations committed during this campaign season but not until after the April 4 election.
Lack of a quorum – arising in part from long-term vacancies – caused the cancellation of the March 21 meeting, at which complaints filed by Madelyn Ducré and Betty Ester were the agenda items.
The complaints, allegedly against Fifth Ward Alderman Delores Holmes and against Fifth Ward Aldermanic Candidate Robin Rue, were to be discussed. Both Ms. Ester and Ms. Ducré are residents of the Fifth Ward.
The complaints reportedly deal with an alleged conflict of interest and violations of the City code regarding elections by Ald. Holmes for allegedly using her City email to send information dealing with Feb. 28 Primary Election, including the endorsement of Robin Rue, a candidate for Fifth Ward alderman. The complaint against Ms. Rue alleges a conflict of interest because she sits on the Minority-/Women-owned/Evanston-based Enterprise Committee (M/W/EBE), which recommended approval of a grant to Sunshine Enterprises, for which she works. City Council approved the grant.
From the postings on the City’s website and the agenda for the cancelled March 21 meeting, it appears the Board last met on June 21, 2016. The Board of Ethics is required to report at least once a year to the City Council or its Rules Committee, which is composed of all nine aldermen and the mayor.
The Mayor appoints the five members of the Board of Ethics, who either live or work in Evanston. According to the City, no member may serve more than two three-year terms, but a member may remain until his or her position has been filled. At present, there are three members on the Board of Ethics, and, although City Council agendas regularly report proposed Mayoral appointees to City Boards, the Mayor has not filled the two vacancies on the Board.
City Council is scheduled to meet briefly on April 10 to approve the Mayor’s proposed appointments to the Ethics Board. Because Passover begins at sundown on April 10, Council is scheduled to adjourn at 7:11 that evening.