KANKAKEE — While there will be much tradition observed at tonight’s Kankakee City Council meeting with the swearing in of the new mayor, city clerk and council members, one person will be on the sidelines.
Frank Hasik IV, the Republican-elect 4th Ward alderman, will not be raising his right hand to take the oath of office. In fact, Hasik, 32, a lifelong Kankakee, will not be attending the council meeting.
Although he won the 4th Ward aldermanic race against Democratic candidate Dawn Tutt by a lopsided 471-284 margin, there is now a question as to whether Hasik can take the office.
Because he is an employee of the City of Kankakee — he’s worked in the Environmental Services Utility for more than four years — it is unclear if he can take this elected position.
Contacted Sunday, Hasik said he became aware of this potential conflict in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 23 primary election.
The 4th Ward seat has been held by Republican Jim Faford since May 2009.
Basically, Hasik, as a city employee, would be forced to disqualify himself from voting on a wide range of issues due to a conflict of interest.
The only city department which can have an employee hold an elected city office is the fire department. It was several years ago that Kankakee firefighter Jim Stokes ran for and won a seat on the city council when he was elected as an alderman for the 2nd Ward.
Hasik noted he is waiting on a potential job offer which would allow him to resign his position with the utility. That action would allow him to move into his aldermanic seat.
However, the timing of that potential job offer is somewhat unknown, leaving Hasik in limbo.
As a result, at Monday night’s council meeting, when the new council is seated, there will only be 13 sworn members.
“I’m working with an attorney. I knew this would be an obstacle,” he said. “I’ve been told to hang tight.”
The question, however, is how long can the council seat remain in this unknown state?
If it appears Hasik will not be allowed to take his elected position, Mayor-elect Chris Curtis said he will seek applications for 4th Ward residents who would like to serve on the council.
The timing of that action is not yet known as legal advice is being sought as to how long the seat can remain vacant.
“It’s been a roller-coaster ride,” he said.