Mike Walkup Awards a Local Governmental Process “Worsty” to McHenry County College and Crystal Lake

As I was entering the Crystal Lake City Council chambers, Crystal Lake Park Board member Mike Walkup handed me a letter in a sealed envelope.

Despite repeated admonitions that he was “out of order” from Mayor Aaron Shepley, Walkup expressed his dissatisfaction at

  • the council’s consideration of the watershed ordinance before the park board considered its engineer’s suggestions for that ordinance’s revision and
  • the late hour citizens had to stay up to comment on the ordinance.

Last night, I opened up the letter and found it had been written at 6 PM Tuesday night, right before the council meeting.

He says that he doesn’t know how the meeting will come out, but

”I do know, however, that the process, both with respect to the watershed ordinance changes, and the related McHenry County College baseball field proposal, has been the worst I have ever seen from an unit of government at any level.”

That’s quite a generalization.

Walkup continues by pointing out public officials’ decisions are sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but

“If, however we follow a process that is transparent and involves the public in a meaningful way, we may be forgiven if we are wrong, and might even get credit once in a while if we are right.

“If we are wrong, however, and the process involves back room deals, closed meetings, and decisions made at midnight, the public will hang us, and we will deserve it.”

Walkup ends the letter by hoping that the Crystal Lake City Council “is right in whatever decision they make tonight.”

There are two open meetings Thursday night, both involving the issues upon which Walkup speaks.

At 6 PM at McHenry County College there will be a Finance Committee meeting which will discuss the following, among other things:

  • HWAC (Health, Wellness, Athletic Complex [or baseball stadium, as I would put]) Update
  1. Revenue and Expenditures
  2. Contingency
  3. Gantt Chart on Critical Timelines
  4. Overview of Internal Project Management and Controls A top secret, hush-hush meeting is scheduled after the open session. Hard to figure out anything concerning finances that would require an executive session.

Then, at 7:30, the Crystal Lake Park Board will hold its regular meeting. On the agenda is discussion of Burke Engineering’s recommendations of changes that should be made in the watershed ordinance.

The word “Worsty” in the headline refers to awards made by the Illinois Press Association each year to governments with really, really bad compliance with the Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Acts. Carpentersville District 300 won one this past year.

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