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Local News

Joliet Township supervisor denies he ordered road district employees to work his property

At Tuesday night’s Joliet Township Board meeting, Supervisor Dan Vera denied multiple allegations of wrongdoing, including ordering township road district employees to work on his personal property.

Earlier this month, the Joliet Township Road District filed a lawsuit alleging that Vera benefited from work that district employees performed using district equipment on property he owned, among other things.

The lawsuit said Vera “attempted to assert influence over the management of employees at the road district,” a unit of government run by the township highway commissioner.

“At no time did I order, nor could I as supervisor, any road district employees to perform work on my personal property, or for my personal benefit,” Vera said at the meeting.

Vera added that he had no authority to order or terminate road district employees as they work under a separately elected official.

The lawsuit also alleges that Vera “sought to silence the employees of the road district” by telling the highway commissioner he wanted to have at least three employees fired. Vera denied this allegation in his statement on Tuesday.

Still, when asked if any road district employees ever worked at his commercial property on Jefferson Street in Joliet, regardless of him ordering them to, Vera declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation. James Harvey, the township’s attorney, said before the meeting on Tuesday he had no knowledge of work done at the property and referred the question to Vera.

Despite about half a dozen individuals from community groups and agencies voicing support for Vera during the meeting, two people said he should resign from his seat.

Kirk Allen of the Edgar County Watchdogs read from three affidavits relevant to the lawsuit and asked Vera a series of questions about them. Vera did not answer. Allen then called on him to resign.

Mary Beth Gannon, who said she worked with Vera on the Rialto Square Theatre board, brought a sign demanding his resignation.

“We need someone who’s honest at that table,” said Gannon.

Vera said after the meeting that he was “not resigning tonight.”

Vera, a Democrat, ran unopposed in the 2017 township supervisor election. According to township records, Vera earns a salary of about $78,000 as supervisor with additional benefits, including a $3,600 “auto allowance.”

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