As reported last week in The Bulldog, Kathleen Moore, a retired kindergarten teacher was named to fill a short vacancy in the term of John Fritchey, the former 11th district representative. Moore was named to the vacancy despite the availability of Ann Williams.
Williams had been elected to the position in the November 2010 election. She took office last week.
The Bulldog has researched Moore’s actions in Springfield for the two weeks she was appointed. Our study has found Moore voted on 38 pieces of legislation. Without her vote two pieces of legislation, the repeal of the Illinois death penalty and the more than $6 billion increase in personal income taxes, may not have passed as Moore provided the 60th vote necessary for passage.
Credentials for Moore’s appointment also appeared flawed. Those credentials, which were notarized by Fritchey attest that Fritchey signed the papers in the presence of the notary. That notary was himself.
That may violate state law.
“It appears that John Fritchey stepped down at a convenient time to avoid voting on the tax increase,” 2010 Republican 11th district candidate Scott Tucker said.
Tucker said Fritchey’s notarization of his own signature on the documents submitted to seat Moore put the whole issue of the death penalty and tax increase vote into question.
It is part of a $6B question hanging over the short term of Moore, a resident of Lincoln Park. The Bulldog has been unable to reach Moore, has left messages for Tom Moore, the representative’s husband, that the site would like to talk to Moore.
Moore, Republican 32nd Ward Committeeman John J Curry said “is a political nobody who was a life-long Democratic loyalist, married to a connected loyal Democrat.” He critisized Moore for not coming out and explaining her vote.
The Bulldog has also talked to officials in Springfield. “I never had any contact information for her,” a staffer at the house majority office said in a voice mail to The Bulldog.
“If she walked up to me,” Arlington Heights Republican representative Sidney Mathias said, “I wouldn’t know her.” Mathias, the minority ranking member of the House Mass Transit Committee remembers the committee met in early January. He told The Bulldog that Moore probably never introduced herself. Mass transit was Moore’s only committee assignment.
But there was more. Williams told The Bulldog that she met Moore “accidently.” Williams described a brief meeting at a social event following the swearing in of the new legislative session as her only interaction with Moore.
Curry told The Bulldog “I only learned of (her appointment) by reading the BGA post.” That post by Better Government Association President Andy Shaw was published after Moore’s term was complete.
Curry told The Bulldog that Moore’s appointment was within the law. But he said there is a tradition that the short term appointments should be filled by the incoming candidate of the same party. That increases the seniority of the new member when it comes time to fill committees. And that benefits the residents of the district.
“It enhances the prestige of the persons and the voters who supported that person,” Curry noted. “It’s peculiar that Ann Williams wasn’t appointed.”
It appears that it was a backroom deal by Democratic Ward bosses that prevented Williams from being named to the post. Williams support for the income tax increase was suspect, according to political insiders who agreed to talk to The Bulldog on condition of anonymity. According to one, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan told committeemen not to appoint temporary candidates who would not vote for the tax increase.
“Williams became an active collaborator in the lame duck legislative effort to put through the tax increase when she went silent on the scheme to put this strawman legislator in office,” Curry said. Curry called on Williams to call for the repeal of the income tax hike.
Curry warned that the fallout from the vote would stain Williams if she didn’t address the issue of Moore’s appointment.
Williams had stated in her campaign site:
“… the core of Ann’s campaign is to clean up state government and ensure that those elected to represent us are working on our behalf… She is committed to serving as a true represenative of the people, not a representative of any special interest, power broker or political machine.”
“As State Representative, Ann will continue to be a champion of ethics legislation in state governement, fighting the entrenched special interests and power brokers, so that back room deals become a thing of the past, and public officials are held accountable for their actions,” the literature said. “Ann will work to cut wasteful spending in government by providing more oversight in the budgeting process, ensuring that voters know how their money is spent and who is spending it.”
Ann Williams on ethics and taxes
Williams answered a Chicago Sun-Times questionarie “What are your top priorities for your district?” with this answer:
“My goal is to serve as a true represenative of my district, and as an independent democrat I will be answerable only to my constituents- not any political power broker, ward boss or special interest.”
Williams repeated her denunciation of backroom deals on her answers to the Chicago Tribune:
“I am running as an independent democrat, and will take steps to fight the back room dealing and politically-motivated decisions that serve the politicians but not the people. When I talk to people about this, they often respond with shaking heads, wry smiles and an occasional “good luck.” This cynicism and the loss of faith in our government is sad but understandable in light of the events over the past several years. After all, this is the district that brought us Governor Blagojevich – whose hypocrisy and blatant abuse of power is hard to stomach.
Williams did not want to talk to The Bulldog about the appointment. However The Bulldog looked through her campaign history. In answering “What is your top priority for the state?” to the Sun-Times she said:
“The most important priority is to get the state’s fiscal house in order. We need to stop borrowing money we don’t have and we need to stop paying our bills using a cycle of debt.”
Williams was asked about the income tax by the Sun-Times: “Do you support or reject increasing the state income tax?”
“While I am not an advocate of raising the income tax, I know the discussion has and will continue to come up in Springfield. It is critical to me that any discussion of an income tax increase, however, include real property tax relief for homeowners.”
The Tribune also asked Williams: “Do you support an income tax increase? At what rates would you set the income tax for individuals and for corporations?”
“While I don’t advocate raising income taxes, I know the discussion has and will continue to come up in Springfield. It is critical that any discussion of an income tax increase include real property tax relief for homeowners.”
The tax bill that the governor signed does not have a comprehensive property tax overhaul.