It appears that the four-member Grafton Township Board majority got its act together Wednesday night with the help of newly hired attorney Ancel Glick partner Keri-Lyn Krafthefer.
Left on the losing end of all contested votes was Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore. So, while she had company, she was still lonely.
A still interrupting, but markedly calmer than before Trustee Gerry McMahon put it best,
“I believe the essence of the problem is majority rules and some people don’t understand majority rule.”
The obvious leader of the four trustees was Robert LaPorta. Most of the agenda items proposed by LaPorta and Betty Zirk can be seen in this story. You can see that Laporta was enjoying himself.
When I left, the board was going into secret session to discuss what apparently they dare not discuss in public:
“Discussion and potential action on prior sale of real estate for road district.”
Prior to going into what elected officials prefer to call “Executive Session,” Moore pointed out there was no mention of the sale she could find in the township minutes.
She had elaborated on the perceived legal problem at more length a previous meeting.
The township attorney at the time, Jim Kelly, and Krafthefer were both included in the closed session.
When Moore questioned Kelly’s inclusion, Trustee Robert LaPorta said,
“We need him as a subject matter expert.”
Earlier in the meeting the four trustees voted to pay Kelley $6,351 owed him.
Before the vote Moore pointed out that $48,941 had been spent on legal fees since the change of administration:
- $37,334 – Jim Kelly
- $10,457 – Joe Gottemoller
- $1,115 – Ancel Glick
There was also a bill pending to the latter for “over $5,000,” she said.
Moore observed that only $45,000 had been budgeted for legal fees for the entire year and that state law said that only 10% of that total– $4,500–could be moved from other line items to legal fees.
“The only was we can pay any attorney fees if at another meeting we (revise) the budget,” she continued.
The majority four approved payment. In her negative vote, Moore reiterated,
“We do not have the funds available.”
All of the above took place in the meeting called by two of the trustees. The meeting called by Supervisor Moore was ruled illegal by the township attorney because its notice had not been posted by Township Clerk Dina Frigo.
Moore read the opinion and, then, reported that the McHenry County State’s Attorney was investigating where an illegal meeting had been held prior to the Thursday boycott of the township meeting.
Frustrated members of the audience gave their views before a third trustee entered the room. Then, Krafthefer silenced them, saying that no business could be conducted.
One woman echoed Trustee Barbara Murphy’s comments from a month ago about the need to “unwind” the loan which the township’s Road Fund took out to pay the Town Fund for the township hall.
That was some irony in such a discussion being held at the old Huntley High School, which the Huntley Park District bought from School District 158.
Both the town hall and the old high school will be paid for twice by local taxpayers, unless the over $600,000 township loan is “unwound.”
One woman in the audience said that would save taxpayers $50,000 a month.
Of course, that does nothing to keep Huntley Park District taxpayers from paying for the high school twice.
The all-Republican township board, by the way, show no sign of recognizing the opportunity their open disagreements are providing local Democrats in 2013. Indeed, McMahon announced his intention to increase the Clerk’s salary because of the additional duties she was being assigned by the board majority.