Updated 12/20/2011 2:05 p.m.
Chris Welch, president of Proviso High School District 209 Board of Education and a candidate for state representative in the March Democratic primary, apologized to his school board colleagues, Dec. 12, for the use of a district vehicle to transport a district employee for political purposes on Dec. 8. The Better Government Association and Fox News posted a video of three D209 employees on the 5th floor of Cook County Clerk David Orr’s Loop office checking Welch’s opponents’ signatures in the Illinois State Representative race for the 7th District.
“I apologize to the board and the district for any embarrassment or negative attention that this may have caused,” said Welch, who insisted that all employees involved had taken the day off or were on personal time. Welch was videotaped dropping off sandwiches for the employees. A red Proviso Township High School D290 van was filmed in front of the building. Reporters said D209 Project Manager Ron Anderson, who was also Welch’s best man at his wedding, according to Fox News, entered the vehicle which drove away.
TaQuoya Kennedy, a spokesperson for the school district, said use of the vehicle had been investigated and employees had been reprimanded according to personnel procedures. She said Anderson was on his day off but was called back to the district for an emergency and was picked up by the van. “These [people] are lifelong Proviso residents and each one graduated from Proviso Township High Schools. Each of them are well within their rights to support any candidate they choose,” Kennedy said.
Broadview resident Princess Dempsey, who is also running in the 7th District race, claimed to Fox News on the video that the van also earlier dropped off the three employees. Welch denied this, telling the BGA that they took public transportation to the county building.