The hits just keep on coming for Zion Township taxpayers.
A few weeks ago, township taxpayers learned they paid for Supervisor Cheri Neal’s daughter’s monthly cellphone service bills while she was in high school and college. Neal reimbursed the township for her friends and family discount.
Now, township residents have discovered they also have been partners with township Assessor Larry Wicketts in an interior decorating scheme.
News-Sun reporter Luke Hamill found Wicketts spent nearly $800 in 2013 for sports memorabilia to nicely grace the blue-gray walls of his office at 2816 Sheridan Road. This about the time taxpayers got their tax bills in the mail. First installment is due June 6, by the way.
Wicketts’ purchases included keepsakes commemorating Green Bay Packers quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Loyalty to the hated Packers should be enough to have John Alexander Dowie, who founded Zion 117 years ago as a religious commune, spinning in his grave.
Surely, Dowie has been rotating in his coffin a lot since Overseer Voliva grabbed power in the early 1900s.
Let’s see, there’s that small matter of selling liquor in Zion. Demon rum had been banned since the city’s founding. Then there is video gambling in a town whose city seal at one time sported the motto, “God Reigns.” That was before atheists stuck their collective noses into the city’s business. The city certainly is on the road toward Sodom and Gomorrah.
Unsure how Dowie felt about sports, but Zion had a bad run with its minor league baseball club, the Lake County Fielders. That experiment went south faster than Dowie’s colonizing of Zion.
We have learned, though, that Assessor Wicketts is a baseball fan and Cubs supporter. We know this from his sports memorabilia office decor purchases.
Wicketts charged the township for a Wrigley Field coin with cherished infield dirt, along with a plaque of beloved Cubs’ third baseman and broadcast analyst Ron Santo and a photo of the team’s former manager, Lou Piniella. Really, Lou Piniella of all managers?
Of course, nearly $800 in sports-themed mementos is a drop in the proverbial bucket when it comes to the Zion Township budget. Yet, it is another indication of public officials — especially elected township officials who have rubber-stamp town boards —considering public funds as their own private piggy banks. Supervisor Neal felt the same when she signed up her kin on the township’s cellphone contract.
Most public officials I know decorate their offices with family pictures, posters they’ve purchased on their own and vacation photos. My favorites are always Republicans who collect elephants and Democrats donkeys to adorn their office walls, bookshelves and end tables. Who knew there are that many elephant and donkey…