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Political Crony or Valued Employee? Daily Herald Covers Our Milton Township Report

By Robert Sanchez
Daily Herald, July 23, 2012

Read the full story at:  http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120723/news/707239909/

Is Ralph Hinkle a dedicated township employee who’s transformed a fledgling emergency response program into an army of hundreds of lifesaving volunteers? Or is he a patronage worker who campaigned for GOP candidates on township time and took advantage of his government credit card and cellphone?

Interestingly, it’s Republicans — including a former gubernatorial candidate — who are fighting about Hinkle, executive director of Milton Township’s Community Emergency Response Team.

As part of his $39,000-a-year job with the township, Hinkle has coordinated the training of more than 600 area residents so they can help their family members and neighbors in emergencies. Those efforts resulted in dozens of CERT members providing assistance in the aftermath of a July 1 storm that downed power lines, uprooted trees and left thousands without power.

But it’s Hinkle’s role as a foot soldier for Milton’s Republican organization that have some questioning whether he is doing political activities when he should be working at his full-time government job.

Milton Township Trustee Jim Flickinger last week released an “open letter” to fellow township Republicans asking them to report to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office any political activities — past or present — “aided by the use of Milton Township time or material resources.”

The letter came on the heels of Adam Andrzejewski posting a report highly critical of Milton Township on the For the Good of Illinois PAC website. Andrzejewski, who ran for governor in the 2010 Republican primary, is chairman of the Hinsdale-based political action committee.

Andrzejewski claims Hinkle used his township credit card to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel junkets, fine dining and gas. In addition, Andrzejewski says Hinkle made “potentially political phone calls” on his government-issued cellphone during the last election cycle.

“The behaviors are certainly unethical,” Andrzejewski said. “I call on Republican State’s Attorney Bob Berlin to investigate whether the behaviors are illegal.”

Read the full story at:  http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120723/news/707239909/

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