MCC Minutes Misstate Points Made by the Public

I read the minutes (click to enlarge) of the October 4th McHenry County College meeting last week and was struck with the misrepresentation of the public comments made.

Here’s what the minutes say about Barry Glasgow’s scathing criticism of the baseball stadium:

“Mr. Glasgow spoke about the need for a nursing program.”

Yes.

He did mention that, but he also talked about not seeing anything in the MCC mission statement about entertainment.

He talked about the baseball team promoter having virtually no risk.

Here’s part of what he said, none of which made the minutes:

“If they don’t have of their own money in it, they have no risk.

“We’re at risk for $45 million.”

He talked faster than I could write, but I did get these question:

”Did they give a five-year prepaid lease?

“Are they putting anything where their mouth is?

“The reality is we need a nursing system.

“It would be nice to have a baseball stadium.

”Do we have their personal guarantee?

“Is it an LLC (limited liability corporation [which it is]) and they can just walk?”

I guarantee the nursing program portion of his comments was not the most significant part of this former investment banker’s presentation.

I spoke after the Committee of the Whole meeting where Equity One’s Mark Houser was questioned on the expansion project.

Please compare my notes with what ended up in the minutes.

The minutes:

“Mr. Skinner congratulated the board for being more transparent, and then asked several questions of the board.”

My notes:

1) You’re getting more transparent. The type of discussion you have had tonight you should have been had in March.

2) To prove you are being transparent I ask for copies of the 4-page cash flow statement and the GANT chart present tonight be made available tonight. (They weren’t. I had to file a Freedom of Information request. It took 11 days to get them.)

3) I asked for the feasibility study, which I had already been refused 4 times. No dice.

4) I suggested if the college really wanted to be energy efficient, they should be building their gyms and offices using Solarcrete.

5) I asked if there would be an arcade in the baseball stadium that could suck up student’s money. I was told there would not be.

6) “Does the license factor in the extra interest cost on the $10 million stadium?” I asked. I got the feeling this was a question that had not even been considered. Because the stadium is not a governmental function, the college cannot issue tax-free bonds to finance it. Taxable bonds, of course, bear a higher interest rate.

7) “Are you and other MCC officials going to get free or discounted tickets?” was my next question. The reaction from Mary Miller was pretty much “Of course not.” But neither my question nor her and others’ negative reactions show up in the minutes. I pointed out that some park district that own golf courses let current and retired members play free.

8) The question had arisen in the discussion of the building project about how high the contingency fee should be. Ron Ally, the top finance guy, favored raising it from 5% to 10%. I pointed out that the Jefferson Wells forensic auditor of the Huntley construction projects said he raised his eyebrows when construction costs are higher than 5% of estimates and recommended the college stick with the 5% figure.

9) I asked if the board members knew about the allegations I’d read in a newspaper article that were made in a Wisconsin suit against baseball promoter Heitman. I heard one “Yes” and one “No.”

10) Finally, I asked why MCC was not offering to eliminate phosphorus on all of its property, including the farmland they want zoned for 50% impermeable coverage. I told them of a presentation made at the Crystal Lake Kiwanis Club about row crops being grown without phosphorus. I did not recommend the source of nutrients –pig farms–be allowed near MCC, but I used it as an illustration that it could be done if the college really wanted to protect Crystal Lake’s watershed.

I could go back to my notes for the others who made public comment and show how deficient the minutes’ representation of them are, but why bother?

Transparency is obviously not the goal of the person who edited these minutes.


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