MONTICELLO — Citing actions that have “shaken the trust in local government,” Piatt County Democratic party leaders are seeking the resignation of the county board chairman.
Ray Spencer, 62, of White Heath was charged this week with two felony counts of forgery and two counts of official misconduct. Spencer surrendered to police at the Moultrie County Sheriff’s Office on Monday following a grand jury indictment.
“While Mr. Spencer should be guaranteed a presumption of innocence in his court proceedings, his elected leadership role places him in a position where he is held to a higher standard of accountability and public trust,” Piatt County Democratic Party Central Committee Chair Sheila Maloney in a statement. “Unfortunately, that trust has been lost. In order to restore the integrity of our local government, I am calling on Ray Spencer to resign as county board chair and as a member of the Piatt County Board.”
Spencer, a Republican, represents District 1. His current term is set to expire in 2022. Attempts to contact Spencer on Friday were unsuccessful.
Maloney said the decision to seek Spencer's resignation came after members of the Piatt County Democratic Central Committee and other concerned Democrats met to discuss the impact of his actions.
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Herald & Review media partner WCIA reported that the charges stem from two November incidents between Spencer and Piatt County State’s Attorney Dana Rhoades, "one in which Spencer is said to have tampered with an email from Rhoades before sending it to a local newspaper for publication, and the second in which Spencer attempted to hire an outside attorney to advise board members during some of the county’s several budget hearings."
In the release, Maloney also called for more accountability and transparency from other board members.
“The report released by WCIA indicated there was some conflicting information on whether or not other county board members were aware of what was going on,” Maloney said. “I would like to request that our board members come forward to explain when they became aware of Mr. Spencer’s alleged criminal actions and what actions they took when they learned what transpired.”