Major issues in Rock Island County politics are happening, and changes have been forthcoming and swift. Corruption in Rock Island County is specifically occurring within the County Board, but there are problems in the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office as well.
Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd, a Democrat, resigned from his position recently because of apparent misconduct. Mr. Boyd was involved in an altercation involving a woman at a local gym and was allegedly harassing the woman, according to a series of articles published recently in the Moline Dispatch-Argus newspaper. Sherriff Boyd ultimately resigned because of these allegations and Gerry Bustos has been named interim Sherriff.
The Rock Island County Board has been under fire recently as well. The county Board Chairman Phil Banaszek, resigned from his position on Sept 24th due to ongoing disputes on whether he should be removed from office. Banaszek’s resignation came just one day before a special meeting was held to remove Mr. Banaszek as County Board Chairman. This one vote was the only item on the agenda as the Rock Island County Board only meets regularly on the third Tuesday of every month.
The problems do not end there for the County Board. Karen Kinney, the incumbent County Clerk, was being investigated along with Mr. Banaszek in connection with falsifying documents to the county. Other county board members have also been investigated this year as well.
Ken “Moose” Miranda, a Democrat who is currently Vice President of the board, will now serve as interim Chairman of the Board until an election is held November 30th. In December, a vote will be held to elect a chairman who will serve a two year term.
Mr. Banaszek’s seat is now declared vacant. Democrats will nominate a replacement to complete Mr. Banaszek’s term, which ends in 2016. Mr. Banaszek has been under fire since taking office in 2012 because Rock Island County has faced lawsuits, financial difficulties, and political divisions.
Joan Eastlund, who is a professor of Government at Black Hawk College says she cannot remember the last time that the Rock Island County was under this much scrutiny. When asked if these political problems in the county had an effect on young students and politicians she replied, “I hope it does not stop young people from a career in public service.” Professor Eastlund says some of the problems could be due to Rock Island County not having a high growth rate and the United States as a whole is in economic recovery.
When asked if the County Board should hire an outside administrator to be the Chairman, Professor Eastlund declared, “Yes. They should hire a professional administrator to be the Chairman.” She continued, “There are a lot of changes happening in important Rock Island County office positions, but one thing is clear. Citizens need to take note of how dirty politics can be and learn the negative impact bad politics can have on a community.”