Paul Kotowski: Niles Ethics Board Candidate Questionnaire

Paul Kotowski: Niles Ethics Board Candidate Questionnaire

Paul Kotowski

Age: 48

How lengthy have you ever lived within the village of Niles? Since 2018. Previous to that, I lived in Skokie for many of my life.

What’s your occupation? Lawyer. I function counsel at Harm Attorneys of Illinois, primarily based in Lincolnwood. We signify victims of wrongful dying and catastrophic accidents ensuing from main automobile and truck accidents within the space. I am additionally an elected official, having served on the Oakton Faculty Board of Trustees since elected in 2017. I at present function Chair of the Board.

Training? Niles West graduate. I acquired my diploma in accounting from Loyola College, and my J.D. (regulation diploma) from DePaul.

Why do you wish to be a member of the Niles Board of Ethics? As a result of it is a historic election. That is the primary time in historical past {that a} native ethics board will probably be elected quite than appointed within the State of Illinois.

My expertise as a Trustee at Oakton Faculty provides me a singular ability set to tackle the duties as a member of the Niles Ethics Board. Following is a short overview of my involvement whereas at Oakton: I served as chair, vice chair and secretary of the board of trustees;

Liaison and voting delegate to the Illinois Group Faculty Trustees Affiliation,  and the American Group Faculty Trustees Affiliation; Drafted Oakton’s Sustainable Buying Coverage, a primary of its variety coverage for a group faculty to require the procurement of “inexperienced” and eco-friendly items and providers; Assisted within the drafting of a proposed Neurodiversity Inclusion Coverage which the board will think about for approval in 2023; Served on the model refresh committee and assisted the administration in implementing the transition of Oakton’s latest identify change from Oakton Group Faculty to Oakton Faculty; Served on the Board’s memorandum of understanding committee and helped to draft a complete written settlement between the faculty and the Oakton Academic Basis, a charitable group which donates hundreds of thousands of {dollars} yearly to the Faculty. Oakton Faculty has had a AAA bond ranking throughout my total service on the board, whereas additionally investing tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} for capital enhancements to each the Skokie and Des Plaines campuses.

Throughout my time at Oakton, I’ve developed the next particular expertise related to ethics in native authorities. Intensive understanding and utility of the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, Illinois Open Conferences Act and Freedom of Info Act. I handled quite a few points pertaining to the hiring, efficiency and self-discipline of staff, and have reviewed and helped negotiate for approval quite a few collective bargaining agreements between the faculty and union organizations. I presided over a number of a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in procurement of products and providers – together with building contracts – for board approval, gaining in depth familiarity with Illinois laws governing native authorities procurement in addition to the ability and data essential to determine potential moral considerations; and reviewed and deliberated upon a whole lot of closed session gadgets pertaining to litigation, grievances and formal complaints lodged by staff and college students.

Present an instance of an motion, which might represent a breach of moral habits. Following are some examples of conduct which might represent a breach of moral habits. The next are hypothetical situations solely, and I’m not implying any of the next have occurred or are occurring on the village:

A Trustee voting sure in favor of board approval of a contract between the village of Niles and a building firm, when that trustee’s shut relative has a considerable possession curiosity in that firm could be a violation of Part 2-404 (B) and (C) of the Village of Niles Code of Ethics.

A Village worker utilizing a laptop computer laptop supplied by the village to additional his or her aspect actual property enterprise could be a violation of Part 2-404 (J) of the code;

The place a regulation agency representing the village in negotiations with an entity for the acquisition of actual property additionally represents one other, totally different shopper in unrelated pending litigation towards the village. Though the 2 issues are totally different, this may nonetheless be a violation of Part 2-404 (Okay) of the code; and a Village well being or constructing inspector accepting a money bribe to make a possible violation “go away,” could be a violation of all subparagraphs of Part 2-405 of the code.

What’s your method to evaluating standards to find out whether or not actions or behaviors breach moral village requirements? Neutral and goal analysis of all related documentary, bodily and testimonial proof. As a litigator for over twenty years, I’ve developed a powerful aptitude for the presentation and analysis of proof, and have a powerful background within the acceptable procedures for evidentiary hearings and truth – discovering inquiries, each formal and casual.

Ought to ethics board members be elected, or ought to they solely be appointed? Elected. An ethics board is an oversight board. It’s axiomatic that members of an oversight board be impartial and will have the ability to carry out their jobs impartially with out having to face undue affect or strain. Additionally, an elected Ethics Board in Niles will assist foster transparency, accountability and public belief in native authorities.

At what level ought to a substantiated breach of ethics be critical sufficient that the outcomes of an investigation ought to be made public? Whether or not and when to publicly disclose should be examined on a case by case foundation, since many instances ethics violations contain personnel. Information regarding the efficiency or self-discipline of staff can’t usually be publicly disclosed pursuant to the Illinois Open Conferences Act and different laws.

Additionally, within the case the place an ethics breach rises to the extent of prison conduct and entails a referral to a regulation enforcement company, the matter probably can’t be disclosed to the general public through the pendency of the prison investigation or till indictments or fees are introduced.

Whereas public disclosure of a substantiated moral violation is at all times preferable, one should keep in mind there are a selection of legal guidelines that govern and restrict the timing and scope of public disclosure.

Is it acceptable for elected or appointed officers or village staff to obtain presents from these doing enterprise with the village? What (if any) limits ought to be in place? No. Though Part 2-406 of the code gives restricted exceptions to the present ban beneath slender circumstances, acceptance of such presents ought to at all times be prevented to stop even the looks of a battle of curiosity.

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