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Letter: Farrell’s missteps show Campbell’s lack of oversight

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

I am writing to you because I read of DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell’s praise of the wonderful job his assistant, John Farrell, has done for DeKalb County in the time he has worked in the state’s attorney’s office.

I handled all the engineering work for the DeKalb County Highway Department (including all of Peace Road north of Route 38) for more than 32 years, retiring last year. In the course of my work, I know of several occasions in which Farrell’s work (or lack thereof) has cost the county taxpayers money and aggravation.

The first example was in 2006 when Farrell and the state’s attorney’s office elected to settle a liability case against the Highway Department for more than $100,000 of the taxpayers’ money, when it was performing only engineering supervision for a township and had zero liability in the case. But settling the case with our taxpayers’ money was the easy way out for him.

The more recent case involves the collapse of a bridge on Keslinger Road on Aug. 19, 2008, because of repeated heavy loads placed on the bridge by a pipeline contractor. Farrell has supposedly been in charge of prosecuting this case for more than four years, but we don’t seem to be any closer to a new bridge in Afton Township than we were when Farrell first took on the case.

Neither of these examples involve the splashy headlines Campbell likes, but they point to the fact Campbell hasn’t seemed to know what has been going on in his civil division during his tenure, much to the detriment of the citizens of DeKalb County.

I have known Richard Schmack since he first came to the state’s attorney’s office in 1985. We have become friends. In his capacity as civil assistant, we worked together on many highway and planning and zoning issues. I always found him to be a very knowledgeable attorney who gave the county sound advice and was always prepared to do his job.

Although I usually lean toward voting for Republicans, I am voting for Richard Schmack for state’s attorney. I urge you to do the same.

Gary Sale


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