“Prohibited political activity” charges again faces McHenry County Undersheriff Andy Zinke.
This time I didn’t file the complaint, as I did when Zinke used his office email account to explain that his middle finger was just holding up the roof of the Sheriff’s Department vehicle.
Zane Seipler, whom Zinke defeated for Republican Precinct Committeeman, did.
Seipler’s complaint follows:
On or about March 13th, 2014, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, while running for Republican Candidate for Sheriff of McHenry County, conducted a campaign interview with ABC News in the McHenry County Government Center (Courthouse), specifically in the offices of the Sheriff’s Department. (A copy of the video was submitted as evidence and the interview can be viewed at http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?id=946777.) [I found it at http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/politics&id=9467771.]
The interview served no other purpose than to highlight the Republican Primary Election for Sheriff.
The McHenry County Ethics Ordinance states, “No officer or employee shall intentionally perform any prohibited political activity during any compensated time, as defined herein. No officer or employee shall intentionally use any property or resources of the County of McHenry in connection with any prohibited political activity.” [Emphasis added.]
At the time of the video Undersheriff Andrew Zinke was an employee of the Sheriff’s Office.
At the time of the interview Undersheriff Andrew Zinke was a candidate for elected office.
At the time of the interview Undersheriff Andrew Zinke was a ranking supervisor to all in the office except Sheriff Keith Nygren.
At no time during the televised interview was Undersheriff Andrew Zinke recorded in a public area of the Government Center.
Undersheriff Andrew Zinke was not on duty at the time of the interview.
According to records that have been submitted with this complaint, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke was utilizing a vacation/personal day and was not required to be at his place of employment at the time of the interview.
Undersheriff Andrew Zinke made an organized and determined effort to intentionally conduct prohibited political activity, in the form of the ABC Sheriff’s Race interview, while in a public facility (public property).
This is a violation of the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance Section 3(a).
During the course of the interview Undersheriff Andrew Zinke displayed or allowed to be displayed, his campaign literature.
A picture of the campaign literature has been submitted as part of this complaint and can be viewed in the ABC video.
This violates the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance Section 3(a) in that Andrew Zinke intentionally used public property and resources to display the campaign literature.
On an unknown date during the 2014 Primary Campaign Season, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke posed for a picture with uniformed police officers from the Harvard Police Department.
The picture was taken from inside the Harvard Police Department in an area that does not allow public access.
The picture was taken during common business hours as the clock in the photo represents that the time was 3:00 pm.
Undersheriff Andrew Zinke used the photo as part of campaign literature that his campaign mailed to thousands of McHenry County voters. (A copy of the photo has been submitted with this complaint.)
Undersheriff Andrew Zinke intentionally utilized public property and resources to conduct prohibited political activity in violation of the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance Section 3(a) and the City of Harvard Ethics Ordinance.
On July 13th, 2013, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke authored, from a Sheriff’s Office computer, during hours of employment, an e-mail that was sent to politicians and citizens alike.
The e-mail was political in nature and a violation of the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance Section 3(a) in that the e-mail highlighted his political campaign activity.
The e-mail was prohibited political activity as it was generated with the use of public resources in/on public property (Government Center).
This issue has already been resolved by the Ethics Commission, as a complaint was filed in July of 2013 specifying this incident.
Due to the previous complaint, one can believe that Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, a veteran law enforcement officer and administrator, made himself familiar with the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance and the Illinois Statutes that accompany it, most notably 720 ILCS 5/33-3 (b)(c) also known “Official Misconduct”.
Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, due to his employment by a government agency, has been required to participate in ethics training and pass an ethics exam. This is a requirement of all government employees.
A section of the complaint form asks for relevant witnesses, about which Seipler wrote:
- Sheriff’s Secretary Ellen Kalinowski, Secretary Malisa Hilbrandt, Secretary Laurie Berg.
- All persons who viewed the ABC interview.
- All persons who received Undersheriff Zinke’s campaign literature.
- All persons who viewed Andrew Zinke’s Facebook Campaign page.
Source of additional evidence that Seipler cites are
- Email correspondence to and from WLS/ ABC News.
- E-mails may be in the possession of Undersheriff Zinke, FOIA Officer Jan Weech, Public Relations Advisor Tamara Demodica, and WLS Editor Jeff Marchese.
Offered as additional relevant material is the following:
- The McHenry County Ethics Ordinance. Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/33-3(a)(b)(c).
- The Illinois Attorney General’s Ethic Ordinance.
- The mandatory training material and exam required by all county employees. Undersheriff Andrew Zinke’s Ethics Training Exam results.