If Rock Island County board members vote to oust chairman Phil Banaszek, they can likely expect a lawsuit.
Banaszek’s attorney John Malvik says there’s nothing in the state constitution or county code that allows the board to remove him from office before his term is up.
“There is no procedure for removal of the county board chairman,” Malvik said in an interview with WQAD-TV.
“If we could just simply remove any executive officer because the political winds have changed, we would not have a stable government. Just because somebody doesn’t like what somebody is doing is not grounds for removal from office, unless the Legislature creates a statute that says you can,” he said.
“It’s just like, we don’t like President Obama, so we’re going to try to remove him from office. We’re descending into some Third World, third-rate political system,” Malvik said.
At a special meeting Tuesday, August 26, 2014, the board voted to generically clear the way for removing a chairman, but stopped short of voting on firing Banaszek.
After speaking with Malvik, States Attorney John McGehee warned board members that the legal waters are murky, and he hopes they stop trying to get rid of him before his term is up.
“If the board were to remove him, at this point, he might have a possible lawsuit against the county and it was my advice that they allow him to stay on through December,” McGehee said.
Banaszek needs to survive through December to maintain a $72,000 pension he’ll receive, based on his salary as board chairman.
“The remedy is in November or December, or whenever they elect the new county board chair, to vote for somebody else,” Malvik said.