Watch now: Bell to continue as Coles County Board chairman CHARLESTON — Brandon Bell will continue as chairman of the Coles County Board, it was decided Tuesday, though a frequent board critic characterized it as a “political move.” The board voted Bell to the chairman’s position after it approved his appointment as the representative of
Watch now: Bell to continue as Coles County Board chairman
CHARLESTON — Brandon Bell will continue as chairman of the Coles County Board, it was decided Tuesday, though a frequent board critic characterized it as a “political move.”
The board voted Bell to the chairman’s position after it approved his appointment as the representative of a different board district than the one from which he resigned last month.
Bell was first appointed chairman in December and said at that time he planned to move within a few months, putting him in a different board district.
With Tuesday’s action, Bell was appointed as representative from board District 2, Charleston, where he now resides. Travis Coffey had represented that district but he also resigned last month.
In turn, the board also voted to appoint Bob Bennett as the District 11 representative, replacing Bell there.
The criticism of the move came from James DiNaso, a member of a group called the Concerned Taxpayers of Coles County, which has long criticized the board about a property reassessment project and other issues.
DiNaso called Bell’s reappointment as chairman “a good political move” and said it “violates the spirit of representation.” Bell didn’t respond, but ultimately stopped DiNaso from speaking, citing the board’s policy on limiting one person’s comments to 3 minutes.
DiNaso also revisited an ongoing issue the Concerned Taxpayers have raised, whether the hiring of the appraiser who conducted the reassessment took place legally.
That and an issue concerning board members receiving county health insurance coverage are subjects of a lawsuit the group filed against the county earlier this year.
Also, Concerned Taxpayers member Robb Perry lamented that the group has addressed the board frequently without receiving a response to its satisfaction. He told the board “we came with solutions” but said “I don’t see anything getting done.”
Group member Charles Stodden, who’s the named plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the two sides “really should have discussions” and stop criticizing one another.
Also addressing the board was Alex Walker, who again criticized State’s Attorney Jesse Danley for the handling of a recent criminal case against Jesse Baird.
Baird was acquitted at trial of battering man he discovered masturbating in front of children.
Citing the time limit Tuesday, Bell stopped Walker during his saying Danley should have prosecuted the man Baird had been accused of attacking. Danley didn’t respond to the comments.
Also, county resident Les Combs told the board he’s still consulting with a lawyer about a possible lawsuit against the county over the end of rural trash program.
Meanwhile, the board’s votes Tuesday included appropriating money from the state’s Rebuild Illinois program to a bridge replacement project in North Okaw Township.
The $40,000 from the state program will help cover the township’s contribution to the project, the cost of which the county and township are sharing.
The board also approved funding agreements with Morgan Township on two culvert replacements near Rardin, with each contributing just more than $12,200.
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