The meeting room was pretty full for the regular monthly township meeting last night.
There must have been something of a backlash at the attempt to include ten months severance pay (as reported exclusively yesterday on McHenry County Blog) in newly-hired Township Administrator Pam Fender’s contract in case she was fired without cause.
Hired before even a job description had been been written with no other applicants allowed, Fender had her contract approved by the Trustees, but not until the proposed severance pay had been cut from ten to three months.
Her annual salary was hiked $5,000 a year to $40,000, however.
The pretext was that Supervisor Linda Moore’s assistant Trudy Jurs is paid that amount.
After the meeting, I asked Moore about that and was told that Jurs had worked ten years in the position before the Republican Party ran a slate on which John Rossi was elected supervisor.
Jurs replaced Sharon Grossman, whom Rossi terminated last May 15th, two days before he left office after losing the GOP primary to Moore.
Grossman was being paid $38,000 a year, Moore said. That amount was divided by the number of working hours in a year and Jurs is paid that hourly amount, plus vacation and other benefits other township employees receive.
I wonder if Fender if Judge Michael Caldwell rules that the Township Trustees did not have the power to hire Fender in the first place. As noted previously, Moore has sent Fender a letter telling her her services are no longer needed.
The meeting was tedious and contentious, as usual, but toward the end, yours truly was banished to the back of the room, at least if I want to take photos.
Trustee Gerry McMahon made it clear that I was not the real target, although motion maker Trustee Betty Zirk said camera flashes distracted her.
The real target apparently was Linda Moore’s husband David’s small video camera.
“I just wanted to let you and your husband understand the rules,” McMahon said as Trustee Barbara Murphy tried to shush him.
“I don’t want to infringe on (our) being transparent,” Supervisor Linda Moore replied, arguing against the motion.
Zirk’s motion banished not only flash cameras, but all “photography, recording media and video” to the “rear of the room.
“It’s distracting. It bothers my eyes,” Zirk said.
There was some discussion about whether those taking photos could sit in the last row or would have to stand behind the back row.
Try as I may, I cannot understand how the video recorder you see David Moore operating here could distract anyone.
And I fail to understand how a tape recorder or other audio recording device could be said to distraction.
When bills were presented, it was learned that the Trustees are paying $250 a meeting to have it video recorded.
My guess is the real distraction is provided by the posting of David Moore’s videos here.
Here’s how many people have seen the videos:
- 11/24/09 22 views
- 12/17 28
- 1/14/10 1120 (first one uploaded)
- 2/11 223
- 2/22 281
- 3/2 651
- 3/11 402
- 3/23 94
- 3/30 56
I have not yet seen the videos for which the Trustees are paying $250 a meeting posted anywhere online.
Meanwhile, in other news, the Township Trustees will be in court Friday at 9 with the Trustees asking for a delay in the trial from next Tuesday and Wednesday based on the Trustees’ law firm Ancel Glink’s not having had a court reporter during a deposition of Supervisor Linda Moore this week. A Tuesday-Wednesday trial would put the annual town meeting right in the middle with possible publicity unwanted by the Trustees the day of the meeting. The Trustees were clearly unhappy when Judge Caldwell said he wanted to move the trial up a day from the original schedule.
I’d be at the courthose, but it’s after 1:30 AM and I tired.
The annual town meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday night at Huntley High School by the way.
It will be the best show in town, although the Dorr Township meeting, where taxpayers are seeking a rebate of $1 million sitting in the bank that those initiating the motion say is over taxation, and Nunda Township, where a vote is to be held on whether to put an advisory referendum on the ballot asking whether voters want to repeal an open space ordinance, will provide impetus for people to attend.