Thanks to the quick investigative work of Kankakee Alderman Cheryl Jones of Ward #2, Kankakee Mayor Nina Epstein withdrew her appointment September 4, 2012, of retired Police Chief Kinkade’s brother to the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.
According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes (65 ILCS 5/10-2.1-3)Sec. 10-2.1-3, the three members must be of at least two different political parties. (Source: P.A. 87-423, 87th General Assembly 1991-1992).
Mrs. Epstein told Mrs. Jones she was surprised, as she had not made an appointment to this board before so she was unaware of the requirement. According to Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Epstein thought that the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners had always been all Republicans.
Mrs. Epstein promptly withdrew her appointment from the meeting agenda and will look for a Democratic replacement with appropriate intelligence and commitment who is able to read statutes and perform her/his duties at a high level.
According to statute (87th General Assembly 1991-1992), each member of the board must sign an affidavit that they are a member of the party as stated. Confirmation by the county political party chairman or above seems the reasonable way to assure that the person appointed is an active member of the party they wish to represent on this Board.
The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners is an important Board set in place by state statutes over 20 years ago. It seeks to assure fair and open-handed decisions on hiring, firing, and promotions and in certain municipalities, appointment of the police and fire chiefs.
Our community depends on the service of our police officers and fire fighters. The police and fire chiefs have worked hard to create departments of high ethical standards loyal to protecting the safety of our community and to keeping each other safe while serving Kankakee.
It is our job as a community to return the same to them.