CARLYLE -- A Clinton County Board member put a GPS device on a county employee’s vehicle to track the worker’s movements, according to criminal charges filed against the board member.
Board member Keith A. Nordike has been charged with official misconduct, a felony, and unlawful use of an electronic tracking device, a misdemeanor. He is accused of putting the device on a county highway department vehicle “to determine the location or movement of Ron Becker,” an employee of the highway department.
Nordike, when reached by phone May 3, declined comment. His attorney, Douglas Gruenke, issued a statement saying Nordike is a fiscal hawk who denies wrongdoing, and that the charge "came as a complete surprise" to Nordike.
Gruenke said in the statement: "Mr. Nordike campaigned for the position of Clinton County Board member on a platform of fiscal accountability to the taxpayers of Clinton County by the officials and employees of Clinton County. Since first taking his oath of office, Mr. Nordike has strived to fulfill that campaign promise. It should come as no surprise that, in pursuit of that objective, Mr. Nordike has ruffled some feathers within the county, and he has encountered some resistance."
Nordike, 52, of Aviston, was booked and released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond, which is a promise to appear in court later. A Republican, Nordike’s current board term expires in 2020.
Board chairman Bob Fix, in an interview May 3, told The Madison County Record he’s not aware of any effort to remove Nordike from the board.
“Not that I know of at this time, because he hasn’t been convicted of anything,” Fix said.
Fix, a fellow Republican, said he’s not aware of a possible motive, adding: “He hasn’t talked to me since this came about.”
Gruenke, in his statement, did not refute the claim that Nordike placed a GPS device on a truck. Rather, the statement denied any wrongdoing by Nordike.
"Mr. Nordike denies any wrongdoing, both in the use of any electronic tracking device or in any official misconduct. He has entered a plea of not guilty and intends to vigorously defend himself from the allegations made against him. In the meantime, he will not let these allegations keep him from fulfilling his promise of fiscal accountability to the taxpayers of Clinton County," Gruenke said in the statement.
Nordike is not a member of the County Board’s road and bridge committee. However, at past County Board meetings, Nordike has brought up issues involving the Highway Department, according to Fix.
“There were probably some issues which were brought up,” Fix said, declining to elaborate.
Fix would not discuss details of the allegation, but said: “I don’t condone this kind of action taking place. Furthermore, I, along with any other board members that I’m aware of, did not have any knowledge of this taking place.”
The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case but the department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
David Rands of the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's Office has been appointed to serve as a special prosecutor in the case. Clinton County State's Attorney John Hudspeth is a Republican. Rands could not be reached for comment.
Becker could not immediately be reached for comment May 3.