“The Clerk is responsible for ensuring fair elections and has no business running political campaigns on the taxpayer’s time,” said Republican candidate for St. Clair County Clerk Duane Henson. “How can we trust election results when there is such obvious favoritism and corruption in the Clerk’s office?”
Henson is referring to the activities of St. Clair County Election Clerk Margaret Eros, who for years filed political campaign reports for Sheriff Rick Watson and other Democratic party candidates during her regular hours as a public servant.
Eros’ boss, County Clerk Tom Holbrook, accepted her resignation last week after her campaign support efforts done on the public dime became known. Whether he, Watson and others knew her efforts occurred during her regular work hours should be investigated.
Since 2011, Eros has submitted 221 documents for political campaign committees, including, in addition to Watson’s, those of Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert, Appeals Court Judge Judy Cates, and County Board Member Robert Allen. Not all of those documents were submitted on “company time,” but many were – as indicated by the fax number at the top of the pages.
Eros worked in the clerk’s office 26 years, handling voter registration entries, coding issues, and reports. “She worked on all aspects of anything that affected elections,” says Holbrook, the man Henson hopes to replace in the upcoming election.
“This has obviously been going on for years,” Henson emphasizes. “There should have been systems in place to ensure this sort of illegal behavior could not go unnoticed for so long. This person’s resignation should not be the end of looking into mismanagement at the County building.”
“The Clerk’s office, by the way, are the people in charge of managing the voting process in the County,” notes former Fairview Heights Police Chief Nick Gailius, who is running as a Republican to oust Sheriff Watson.
Gailius is calling on State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly to launch an independent investigation of these shady practices.
Let’s find out who else is to blame besides Eros.