District 3 Board Member Riley Oncken was appointed last year to the position of Conflict Assistant Public Defender – a paid county position, with full benefits. The Sycamore attorney was chosen by Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert, and at that time State’s Attorney Richard Schmack said this posed no conflict of interest…provided that Oncken abstain from voting on the County budget.
But District 4 Member Anthony Cvek says an opinion issued by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office involving a similar matter in Tazewell County, holds that these positions are incompatible…and this could violate the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.
This matter was brought to Oncken's attention prior to Wednesday night's DeKalb County Board meeting, where he was to have been appointed chair of the county's Law and Justice Committee. His appointment was taken off the agenda, prior to any vote by the Board.
Oncken says that opinion isn’t necessarily an official stance by the Attorney General; but he says he’ll consult with his own attorney, as well as wait to hear the State’s Attorney’s opinion, before deciding whether there’s enough of a perceived conflict of interest to necessitate his resignation.