EDWARDSVILLE — A rally Friday at the Madison County Administration Building will seek support for allowing the superintendent of the Veterans’ Assistance Commission to return to his office.
Brad Lavite was banned from county facilities after law enforcement representatives notified county officials he potentially posed a threat to the safety of county employees and the public. The threat was related to the contents of a police dashcam video and the events surrounding Lavite’s arrest in March 2015. Despite the ban, Lavite has continued to receive regular paychecks.
A group of veterans and elected officials plans to gather at the county administration building in Edwardsville at 10 a.m. Friday to support Lavite.
“Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons and County Administrator Joseph Parente have banned Lavite from stepping foot into the county building, which is a violation of his civil rights and sends the wrong message to veterans throughout the Metro East. Discrimination of a decorated combat veteran should not be tolerated,” the group’s news release states. “Lavite has been cleared to return to work by his VA psychiatrist, who specializes in PTSD illness, but the county refuses to let him return to work. Lawsuits have been filed in state and federal court to lift the ban on Lavite and these lawsuits present a potential financial liability for Madison County taxpayers, as elected officials are openly discriminating against a disabled veteran.”
On Friday morning, six veterans serving on the Madison County Board — Republicans Roger Alons, William Meyer and Brad Maxwell; and Democrats Michael “Doc” Holliday, Steve Brazier and Joe Semanisin — released a statement supporting the county’s policy on Lavite.
Their statement follows:
“As veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the Madison County Board, we, Republicans and Democrats alike, have been regularly briefed regarding the issue of security as it relates to the presence of the superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission, Mr. Brad Lavite.
In the spring of 2015, the members of the Veterans Caucus were made aware of a police video recording of Mr. Lavite threatening to murder a police officer and kicking out the windows of a squad car while he was being transported to a mental health facility.
After carefully reviewing the facts surrounding this issue, we fully support the request made on behalf of Madison County. The county has asked that Mr. Lavite provide a letter from his doctor stating they have viewed the video, have examined Mr. Lavite and subsequently certify that he is not a security risk to himself or others at the county facilities.
As members of the Veterans Caucus, we recognize and respect the service of all veterans and are aware of the serious challenges some veterans face. However, we cannot ignore the disturbing content of this video and the information we have regarding the prior incident, and would be failing to fulfill our duty to the people we represent if we ignored the security risk and potential for harm to citizens and county employees.
Because of our dedication to our country and community, each of us has chosen to continue serving by representing the citizens of our respective county board districts. It is an honor to serve, and it carries with it a great deal of responsibility to the people we represent.
One of our greatest responsibilities is to do everything we can to protect the safety and security of the people of Madison County. Specifically, we have a duty to preserve the safety and security of citizens visiting all county buildings to conduct their business and the many citizens who go there to work every day.”
Those interested in attending the rally are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.