GENEVA – The question of whether the Kane County Circuit Court has the authority to overrule a Geneva Ethics Commission’s decision will wait until a judge makes a ruling.
Kane County Judge David Akemann said July 20 that he would send a written decision to the attorneys, but he did not set a date for when that would be.
At issue was a court filing by former Geneva Alderman Tom Simonian, who sought administrative review to reverse a ruling by the Geneva Ethics Commission.
The commission had dismissed Simonian’s ethics complaint against Mayor Kevin Burns for lack of evidence.
Simonian also sought to have the three ethics commissioners recuse themselves because they had all been appointed by Burns and to have a third party without ties to Burns hear the complaint.
The city of Geneva, Burns and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Einwich filed a motion to dismiss Simonian’s complaint, stating the court did not have jurisdiction because the city had not adopted the state’s Administrative Review Act.
Alex Shenoo, an attorney representing the city, argued that without the city’s express adoption of this act, the court does not have jurisdiction over the decisions of the Ethics Commission.
In court papers and before Akemann, Simonian’s attorney, Tim McLean, said the Geneva City Code states that code violation decisions can be taken to judicial review. And because the ethics ordinance is part of the city code, it also covers decisions by the Ethics Commission, McLean said.
Burns and Simonian were both running for mayor in the April 4 election at the time of the complaint March 13. Burns won a fifth term.
Simonian alleged that Einwich delivered campaign signs to Burns’ house in uniform and used a city vehicle.
Einwich testified at the hearing that the campaign sign had become lodged under his vehicle and he called Burns to ask what to do. Burns responded in a text to drop it off at his house.