I’d forgotten how boring budget committee mark-ups could be.
That was the first order of business at the Grafton Township meeting Monday night.
Held at the Huntley Park District headquarters (the old high school that local taxpayers have had the privilege of paying for twice because of Illinois’ multi-layered form of local government), the main order of business seemed to be to make sure there was enough money to pay newly-hired Township Administrator Pam Fender, who is also a Huntley Village Trustee.
The budget discussion went on and on.
And in the reallocating of $50,000 in contingency funds, making sure Fender would get paid was the primary objective.
Consider these three separate comments from Trustee Rob LaPorta:
“We have to keep in mind we have to add Pam’s salary in this. Plus benefits.”
“…and Pam’s has to be factored in here, too.”
“Is there going to be enough for Pam?”
Before the meeting started, Fender asked me not to take pictures from behind the row of desks where all but Trustee Gerry McMahon sat and not to sit on the counter as I had for a while during last week’s too long meeting.
I told her that there wasn’t room behind the desk and asked her why she cared whether I sat on the counter top.
She said I might fall off, get injured and sue the township, that I was “a litigious person.”
I told her I haven’t sued people, that she ought to get her facts straight before making such a charge.
Perhaps she was relying on the Northwest Herald’s account of its owner’s suit against me. If so, check out the court files. The paper sued me, not the opposite. My legal representation by Patrick Ouimet was outstanding, as was the result.
(Or maybe Fender is thinking about the days forty years ago when I sued about 2,500 people a year for non-payment of Personal Property Taxes when McHenry County Treasurer–a deliberate statewide strategy to get the General Assembly to abolish the tax that actually worked–but I doubt she’s been around long enough to remember that.)
In any event Fender was in a take charge mood, interrupting to say,
“Trustees, this isn’t going to go anywhere,”
when discussion veered to mistakes made by listening to various lawyers and bond counsel about how it was legal to borrow the $3.5 million from the Harris Bank.
That made me wonder why the board has not looked at recovering the $600,000 plus dollars that the trustee side of the table accused the taxpayer side of the table of costing township taxpayers.
Surely the attorneys who gave advice that led to actions Judge Michael Caldwell and the 2nd Appellate Court ruled improper have legal malpractice insurance.
But, there I go talking about potential lawsuits, helping make Fender’s point, I guess.
Later when the board was methodically, stripping Supervisor Linda Moore of every duty not specified by state law, the high speed copy machine, her files on other subjects, that is, leaving her with nothing to do but administer welfare relief and be treasurer of the township, Fended asked,
“Can I say something?”
“The time for public comment is over.”
Fender’s comment was
“I’m an employee now.
“I’m an employee now.”
I’ve attended a good number of municipal meetings and, while city managers or village administrators sometimes interject themselves into the meeting without being asked, that is rare. Maybe Huntley’s village board meetings have a different dynamic.
Trustee McMahon was vociferous as usual.
Joining trustees, Administrator Fender attempted to calm Trustee McMahon down when he got excited.