People v. Wilson, No. 3-03-1032 (Ill.App.3, 4-25-05).

Inconsistent offices

Individual Board Member Interests
Case: People v. Wilson, No. 3-03-1032 (Ill.App.3, 4-25-05).
Date: Monday, April 25, 2005

Simultaneously holding offices as a county board member and a school board member violates the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act. In this case, the Kankakee County State’s Attorney sought an order seeking the ouster of a county board member. The individual first held the office of county board member before being elected to the school board. The Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act prohibits a county board member from holding any other office, except for several specifically enumerated circumstances not relevant here. The statute states that any such election is void. Therefore, rather than voiding the county board seat, the court voided the county board member’s election to the school board.

This decision has narrow applicability because it is based on a statute limiting county board members from holding a second office. The broader doctrine of incompatible offices is rooted in the principle of separation of offices as provided in the Illinois Constitution. The doctrine is intended to assure high quality performance with undivided loyalty. Appellate decisions have held that incompatibility arises if the duties of one office would necessarily prevent the office holder from faithfully performing all the duties of the other office. Under the doctrine of incompatible offices, the acceptance of an incompatible office is regarded by operation of law as a resignation from the first office.