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Stark County board meeting deemed “illegal”

In dramatic and final fashion, law enforcement officials from the Stark County Sheriff’s Office and Toulon Police Department quickly surrounded the Stark County board members to end their Thursday evening meeting. Approximately 10 law officers were summoned by Sheriff Steven Sloan to enforce a state law contained in the Illinois Counties Code, which determined that an illegal special meeting was being held.

Kirk Allen, of the watchdog group Edgar County Watchdogs pointed out that the board meeting was “adjourned” Tuesday evening because the courtroom could accommodate all the public that wished to attend, but according to code, the rescheduled “Special” meeting should have been “published in some newspaper printed in the county.”

Stark County Board Chair Coleen Magnussen replied “Yes” to the question from Allen, “Is it your contention to continue this meeting?” Allen turned to Sloan and said, “I ask that the police officers enforce the rule of law.”

Sloan stepped to the microphone and announced, “The meeting is over!” Law officers from all directions quickly stepped forward and encircled the Stark County Board of Supervisors to prevent further action from occurring. A capacity crowd of 230 Stark County citizens witnessed firsthand power and control being removed from Magnussen and the board members at 8:40 p.m., an hour into the meeting.

Allen spoke at the end of the public comment portion of the board meeting. Prior to him speaking, 16 Stark County citizens used their three-minute allotted time to indicate their dismay with the current board and to call for the removal of Chair Magnussen and Vice-Chairman Fulvio Zerla, who was absent from Thursday’s meeting.

The board also received a signed online petition from Jenna Escalate, of Wyoming, which in essence called for the removal of Magnussen from her position on the board. Over 300 people had signed the petition.

At this juncture, the next county board meeting would be in July, unless a special meeting is scheduled beforehand.