To the Editor:
I have no personal opinion about the recent ethics violation allegations that were made against McHenry’s Mayor, Wayne Jett. However, I do care deeply about the truth. So it was with great disappointment that I learned the identities of the specially appointed members of the Ethics Commission assigned by the city to investigate the charges. Our legal system would fail if juries were as partial to those being accused as McHenry’s newly appointed Ethics Commission members were to Mayor Jett.
Members of the three-person commission included the current chairman of the McHenry police commission and a former McHenry police chief. It was also advised by an attorney with the firm who currently represents the City of McHenry. Talk about a potential conflict of interest! How can we expect these folks to be completely fair and impartial towards a mayor who has (or has had) significant influence over their livelihood?
Whether or not the commission came to the right decision is beside the point. The makeup of this commission reflects a certain disinterest in objectively discovering the truth about the allegations against Mayor Jett. It also signals that the city may not take seriously any other complaints McHenry residents might have. This should not be tolerated.
Today, I discovered that State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally has drafted a new Ethics Code to come before the County Board in October. Among other things, this new code would ensure that ethics complaints against local politicians be investigated by a truly impartial ethics commission, preventing even the appearance of abuses of power.
If you were bothered at all by the way that the charges against the mayor of McHenry were handled (even if you think the commission made the right decision), then I urge you to contact the McHenry County Board for your district and ask them to adopt the new Ethics Code.
We hope that our politicians will always act with honesty and integrity. But when concerns arise, they must be investigated fairly, impartially, and objectively. Don’t you agree?
Elizabeth (Serritella) Smith