Rock Island Co. State’s Attorney involved in Silvis ‘no confidence’ vote fallout

Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 11:55 PM CST
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SILVIS, Ill. (KWQC) - The fallout continues from Tuesday night’s vote of no confidence in Silvis Mayor Matt Carter, now a county agency may be getting involved.

At the center of the friction in Silvis are three separate, but connected issues.

Both Mayor Carter and the city council agree that communication broke down between them.

Fourth Ward Alderman Josh Dyer was part of the group that called Tuesday night’s special meetings and delivered a letter to the Mayor asking for his resignation. All 8 alderpeople reportedly signed it.

He and other members said Carter created a hostile and toxic work environment. That led them to contact Rock Island County State’s Attorney, Dora Villarreal, regarding retaliation and violations of whistleblower laws.

“[I] have no confidence [in] the mayor’s ability to execute the duties of the office of mayor,” Dyer said during Tuesday’s meeting. “I sincerely hope that the mayor will finally do the right thing. He should resign and stop potential damage to the city.”

In a statement to TV6 News on Wednesday, Villarreal confirmed her office is investigating the situation in Silvis.

“Our office was contacted late last week to investigate potential retaliation by a public official,” Villarreal wrote. “We are still in the early stages of gathering information related to the allegations to determine whether further action from our office is warranted under Illinois’ whistleblower laws. We are very hesitant to intervene in the business of other governmental bodies, and will only do so if the evidence and facts arise to such a degree where it is warranted.”

Meanwhile, Carter alleged closed sessions in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s vote were being held in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Some council members said this further drove a wedge between them.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Third Ward Alderman Rick Lohse and First Ward Alderman Tony Trulson confirmed there was a closed session on Jan. 11, that Carter eventually walked out of. Trulson however, denied any violations.

“There was no illegal meeting,” Trulson said during his comments. “Once again at that meeting, we tried to counsel the mayor to change his behavior. He assured us he would.”

Finally, last week the mayor appointed the law firm Ancel Glink to serve as the city’s interim attorneys and fired the city’s labor attorney due to alleged overreach.

Some aldermen said the appointment is a conflict of interest, as they believe the firm has acted on behalf of the mayor in the past.

This dispute then lead to a special meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday before the regular council meeting. Carter alleged that meeting was also in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

That meeting was rescheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The agenda includes discussions about retaining legislative counsel and the role of the City Attorney.

Despite the vote of no confidence passing, 4-3, Carter said he doesn’t intend to resign.

“I think it’s a political stunt,” Carter said. “I don’t harbor any ill feelings. It’s unfortunate. It’s a stain on our community, on all of us that work so hard to help and grow. ... I’m the Mayor of Silvis, and I’ll continue to be the Mayor of Silvis.”

Out of the aldermen who called last night’s special meetings Dyer and Lohse declined interviews. Meanwhile, Trulson left before he could be asked for an interview.

Alderman David Smith didn’t play a role in calling the meetings, but was also in favor of the no-confidence vote.

There was a special meeting and closed session called by the mayor scheduled for Wednesday night, but Carter canceled it in the early afternoon.

After the vote on Tuesday, the mayor said the meeting he called was unrelated to the ongoing issues.