Elected officials are held to a higher standard.
Once in office, elected officials represent the body for which they have been elected to and the people who voted them into office. This is true at all times, whether in line at the grocery store or sitting in city hall chambers during a board meeting.
It’s apparently a lesson that Island Lake Trustee Shannon Fox still needs to learn.
The Island Lake Village Board last week rightly voted to reprimand Fox for sending emails to Lake County officials – including County Board members and the sheriff – that informed them of a property dispute involving Mike’s Towing owner Mike Johnson and suggested that they not do business with his company.
“I have written our mayor and chief asking that they suspend use of this tow company and I encourage you to do the same,” Fox said in the email.
Fox signed it as a village trustee and chairman of the grants committee from her village email address.
Whether intentional or not, sending such an email gives the perception that Fox was trying to use her influence as a village trustee to harm a village resident and business over a private matter.
As the Island Lake Village Board resolution states, Fox improperly represented herself in the emails and may have given the impression she was representing the village.
Unfortunately, Fox doesn’t recognize her responsibility as an elected official. She said she does not plan to retract the emails, which means copies of the village’s resolution will be sent to the email recipients.
This behavior is unacceptable and an abuse of the public’s trust. We hope Fox someday recognizes her mistake and that other public officials can learn from it.