Ethics officer opinions

Released: January 21, 2020

Individual complaints were filed by private citizens on January 8, 2020 against City Councilmember Rose Martinez and City Councilmember Terry Gavin that alleged specific violations of the City of Elgin’s ethics act and related State law. Both allegations have been investigated by the City’s corporation counsel who also serves as the City’s ethics officer, and the respective findings are provided in their entirety: 

The complaint against Councilmember Martinez asserted that she voted on two matters related to School District U-46 in which she had an alleged conflict of interest. Councilwoman Martinez was employed by School District U-46 as a part-time school bus driver from 2014 through 2019. The investigation determined that Councilmember Martinez in her previous role had no conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety during the cited votes in which the City Council made determinations on a zoning matter and agreement for the continuation of school resource officers provided by the Elgin Police Department. 

Additional investigation was conducted to include Councilmember Carol Rauschenberger, as she is employed as a full-time occupational therapist for the school district. The investigation also found that Councilmember Rauchenberger did not have a disqualifying conflict of interest in the two school district matters.  

The two complaints against Councilmember Gavin stated that he engaged in a prohibited political activity on two separate instances in which he used his City email account to respond to constituents. Of the two complaints, only one email exchange is found to be in minor violation the City’s ethics ordinance. This instance involves Councilman Gavin responding on March 28, 2019 to a resident inquiring about who to vote for in the spring 2019 election. The investigation did not demonstrate a pattern, plan or coordination by Councilmember Gavin to misappropriate City property or resources for prohibited political activity.

An email exchange with another resident on April 28, 2019 was found to not be in violation of any statutory or local ordinance, as the significant portion of the exchange focused on matters related to proposed changes to parking regulations.