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posted: 3/19/2012 10:31 PM

No complaint, so no action on Geneva mayor's email 'mistake'

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  • Kevin Burns

      Kevin Burns

  • Chris Lauzen

      Chris Lauzen

 
 

Unless someone files a written and notarized complaint, nothing more will be done by Geneva regarding Mayor Kevin Burns' use of city email in his campaign for the Republican nomination for Kane County Board chairman against state Sen. Chris Lauzen.

City Attorney Charles Radovich, who also is Geneva's ethics adviser, recused himself from the matter and asked City Administrator Mary McKittrick to take his place. She sought outside legal advice from attorney Kevin Drendel, whose firm does municipal work for several towns, including Batavia and North Aurora. McKittrick read a letter from Drendel on the matter at Monday's city council meeting.

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After reviewing city and state ethics laws, Drendel wrote that Geneva's ethics adviser "does not have the authority to make an ethics determination, and it would not be appropriate to give such an opinion" if the ethics adviser asked whether a violation occurred.

No one has filed a complaint. If anyone does, it would be investigated by the Geneva Ethics Commission. The commission cannot initiate a complaint, Drendel said, and the city council "does not have the power or the duty to police ethics issues," he wrote.

A Lauzen consultant requested email records for Burns' city email account from late last summer through early February. The consultant then publicized the emails, in which Burns discussed campaign finances, tactics and endorsements, with campaign supporters, workers and Republican party officials.

No one on the council had any questions or comments after McKittrick read Drendel's letter on Monday. Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg was absent. Polled after the meeting, the eight aldermen remaining in the room each said they did not plan to file a complaint.

Burns said, again, that campaign emails were defaulting to his city email account, and that he compounded the "mistake" by replying to emails from that city account.

"I apologize for the distraction that I have caused," he said.

Burns also said that some campaign literature mistakenly included his city telephone number and that while many of the pieces were destroyed, some went out. He is returning any political calls on his private telephone, he said.

"I have benefited from this lesson," Burns said.

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