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Local

Our view: Thumbs-down to assessor's resignation coming far too late

Former Kingston Township Assessor Jennifer Cleveland appears in court Tuesday at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore. Cleveland pleaded guilty to forgery and official misconduct and has resigned as assessor.
Former Kingston Township Assessor Jennifer Cleveland appears in court Tuesday at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore. Cleveland pleaded guilty to forgery and official misconduct and has resigned as assessor.

Thumbs-down: To corruption in a township assessor’s office. Jennifer Cleveland resigned Tuesday as the Kingston Township assessor, the same day she pleaded guilty to charges of official misconduct and forgery in connection with an incident where she forged documents to secure a tax break for her son. Cleveland’s guilty plea was no surprise – she’d essentially admitted she’d signed a former property owner’s name on a document in order to lower the assessment on her son’s property in 2017. Cleveland continued to hold her public position for more than a year while these charges were pending, presumably assessing property in the township. She resigned Tuesday, but she had no choice – Illinois law forbids convicted felons from holding office. She should have resigned when she was indicted in November 2017. Assessed value is a key factor in determining people’s property tax bills, and residents should have confidence that the people charged with this duty are doing so honestly.

Thumbs-down: To missing incumbents. This week, there were two community forums for DeKalb School District 428 Board candidates. The two incumbent board members, Fred Davis and Rick Smith, did not appear at either of them. At the first event, on Tuesday, the board members had a meeting to attend. They both also missed the next, on Thursday at University Village. Candidate Steve Irving, on vacation in Arizona, also was absent from both. There are nine candidates for four seats on the district board, and these forums are a good way for people to determine which candidates’ views make them best suited. We also would welcome the opportunity to hear from sitting board members about their record the past four years.

Thumbs-down: To an unfortunate end to a groundbreaking appointment. Kimberly Everhart became the first female police chief in Hinckley’s history – and the second woman to be a local police chief in DeKalb County history – in 2017, but her tenure ended abruptly late last year with her dismissal. On Tuesday, Everhart was arrested after being charged with eavesdropping and official misconduct for secretly recording a conversation with Village President Nancy Nelson in June 2017. Everhart has not made a plea in the case, but no matter the outcome in court, the story of Hinckley’s first female police chief has certainly taken a turn for the worse.

Thumbs-up: To the arrival of spring. The snow has melted, the birds are back and local baseball and softball teams are back in action. The coming week will be spring break for students in many schools, including in DeKalb and Sycamore. Things are waking up everywhere after a long winter. Take the time to enjoy a moment of warmer weather when you find it.

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