Editorial accuses Cahokia officials of deception, lack of transparency
In a recent editorial, the Illinois Leaks web publication accused the village of Cahokia of changing its meeting dates and times to coincide with the Commonfields of Cahokia Water District meetings to keep citizens from attending both.
The publication alleges that actions like this reflect the larger political structure that embraces corruption and lack of transparency.
“Since the chairman of the Water District and the mayor of Cahokia are father and son, it was an easy task for them,” the editorial said.
Furthermore, the publication said it sent regular complaints to the Water District because the facility in which the meetings are held is too small to accommodate those who would like to attend.
“They have so far refused and canceled this meeting when it became known to them that a large crowd was planning on attending,” the editorial said. “On notification (1 hour prior to meeting start time) that the meeting was canceled, we made plans to attend the Cahokia Village Board meeting – only to learn that one was canceled shortly after the Water District canceled theirs.”
Such behavior created enough suspicion for the publication to characterize these actions as conspiratorial.
“They must be hiding things to go to these steps in order to keep the public from attending public meetings,” the editorial said.
The publication also questions the city’s choice for Water District commissioner, arguing that such appointments only increase their skepticism.
“One member of the Commonfields Water District Board is the former mayor of Alorton – JoAnn Reed, who had pled guilty to smuggling contraband into a county jail cell,” the editorial said. “It was a felony, and she was removed from office as Alorton mayor and clerk. Makes you wonder what the people were smoking when she was made a Water District commissioner.”
Apparently, this is nothing new in the Cahokia area, the publication said. It said the mayor of Cahokia, Curtis McCall, Jr., shut down the village’s web page, promising it was being updated. This was 10 months ago, and the site is still down.
The publication also accused the mayor of theft and corruption on other issues.
“They closed down the food bank and stole their refrigerators, and fired union workers in order to put convicted felons on the city’s payroll (convicted of election voting fraud), giving them a salary in excess of $60K per year, only to have the court order him to put the union employees back to work, with back pay," the editorial said.
James T. Ingram recently wrote an article for the St. Louis American expressing similar opinions of the further decline of politics in Cahokia.
“McCall has succeeded, in a few short months, in totally eroding the public’s trust in his leadership and his ability to govern the village of Cahokia,” Ingram said.
The publication offers even more complaints on what is wrong with how the city is run.
“The felons are still employed with the city – and to help pay for them, he increased the sales tax to the highest sales tax in the entire country,” the editorial said.
With regard to the disorganization of Water District meetings, the publication would like to see consistent public meetings in a room that can hold the citizens who would like to attend.
“Let’s hope both public bodies rethink their strategy and start holding regular meetings at times and places convenient for their citizens,” the editorial said. “We will attend the next meeting, whenever that may be.”
The editorial offers suggestions on how the city can alleviate the problem of space.
“One place they could have moved it to was the Village of Cahokia boardroom,” the editorial said. “Commonfields refused to move, and stated they had no plans on moving in the future, no matter how many people attend.”
The publication laments this lack of engagement between elected officials and their constituents.
“Although this tactic is not by itself a violation of law, it exposes the snakes for what they are and shows how far Cahokia and Commonfields will stoop to keep citizens from attending meetings,” the editorial said.
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103 Main St
Cahokia, IL 62206-1019