The Bible reveals to us, in Proverbs 22:1, that “a good name is more desirable than great riches.” That’s a lesson the East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks is learning the hard way.
Parks, after amassing $176,000 in fines accrued from failure to file campaign contribution reports dating as far back as 2011, is now banned from running for office by the Illinois State Board of Elections.
To add insult to injury, prior to a settlement hearing before the election board, Parks was quoted as stating that he didn’t believe that the election board actually wanted him to pay the total amount due. He speculated that the fines were simply a way to “get his attention.”
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that when Parks proposed a settlement offer of $88,005, half of the total debt, that board members rejected it.
What’s baffling is how steep the learning curve must be for Parks, compounded by an apparent sense of arrogance, entitlement and an obvious disregard for the rules, which stipulate that he cannot be certified for elections, even if he files for office, if there are outstanding campaign fines.
Parks has served as a City Council member, city manager, mayor and, currently, as township supervisor. He holds degrees from both Morehouse College and Washington University. He should know the rules at this stage of his political career and should be astute enough to file campaign reports in a timely manner.
According to Parks, his goal is “clearing his name” with the Illinois Board of Elections. I would submit to Alvin that the road to a good name is not paved by paying one’s debts and being responsible and respectful of the law.
Were he to reach an agreement with the state, Parks’ immediate intention was to run for ESL District 24 precinct committeeman seat and, ultimately, to possibly seek reelection as township supervisor.