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Madison County state’s attorney cites AG’s opinion supporting county appointments

From Illinois Business Journal news services

EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons says the Illinois Attorney General’s Office supports his interpretation of a state law governing appointments to vacated county positions.

The Attorney General’s Office upheld Gibbons’ opinion that the County Board acted appropriately in its appointment of Diane Semanisin, a Democrat, to a new two-year term on the Board of Review. Republican Party Chairman Chris Slusser had objected to the appointment, arguing that a Republican appointee should have been selected to fill the two-year term instead.

“The language of the statute was pretty clear and we made the right call,” Gibbons said. “This was not a tough call to make, but Slusser got it wrong by trying to play politics.”

Republican officials, citing former Attorney General William J. Scott’s written opinion on previous legislation, said Semanisin’s seat should have gone to a Republican.

Semanisin’s appointment was previously approved by a unanimous vote during the April County Board meeting, along with the appointment of Republican Bessie Powers to a two-year term.

In the Attorney General opinion, Senior Assistant Attorney General Lynn Patton said the highest vote-getter in the most recent election was a Democrat, therefore establishing that the Board of Review seat in question should also be held by a Democrat.

According to the opinion: “The political composition of a board of review under section 6-15 of the Property Tax Code is to be determined based on the political affiliation of the candidate for election to a county office who received the highest total number of votes at the most recent general election, regardless of whether the election for office was contested or uncontested. The unopposed candidate for county sheriff, who was a member of the Democrat party, received the greatest number of votes for any Madison County office at the November 2014 general election. Consequently, two seats on the Madison County Board of Review are to be held by persons affiliated with the Democrat party.”

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