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Letter: Follow the law

Letter: Follow the law

In November 2006, in a letter to the editor, I pointed out the Rock Island mayor’s appointments to boards and commissions did not reflect the city’s minority residents in proportion to the population.

The 276 citizens appointed to 33 boards and commissions represented less than 1% of minority residents. The majority were on just four: the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, The Human Rights Commission, Rock Island Housing Authority and the CDBG Citizens Advisory Committee.

The 2020 census indicates the minority population is 34% of the city’s 37,108 residents. This includes Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and others who identify themselves as two or more races.

The mayor compounds the inequitable practice of his predecessors by also appointing elected officials to these boards and commissions in violation of Illinois State Law, Chapter 50, Act 105, Sec. 2, which states:

"No alderman of any city, or member of the board of any village, during the term of office for which he or she is elected, may accept, be appointed to, or hold any office by the appointment of the mayor … unless the alderman or board member is granted a leave of absence ... or unless he or she first resigns from the office … or unless the holding of another office is authorized by law..."

In 2013, the Attorney General’s office emphasized the previous State’s Attorney had the duty to enforce the law. He, however, remained recalcitrant (and "lost" my files).

Appointees should reflect the population, and Mayor Mike Thoms should stop violating the law.

Vincent G. Thomas

Rock Island


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