Fender’s Severance Pay Cut to Three Months

The room was not quite standing room only, but most of the chairs were taken.

The meeting room was pretty full for the regular monthly township meeting last night.

Grafton Township Trustees Barb Murphy, Rob LaPorta, Betty Zire and Gerry McMahon.

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.

Betty Zirk's picture taken from the front of the room.

Betty Zirk's picture taken from the back of the room with a long lens.

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.

David Moore making video recording the Grafton Township meeting.

“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.

Where Grafton Township's annual meeting is being held in Huntley Tuesday evening starting at 7 PM.

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.


Fender’s Severance Pay Cut to Three Months — 19 Comments

  1. 1. THREE months severance is still ridiculous.

    2. Somebody contact the Atty. General’s Open Meetings Act official re making it difficult to record audio and/or video.

    3. “Zirk’s motion banished not only flash cameras, but all “photography, recording media and video” to the “rear of the room.” Ms. Zirk – the flash issue might work, the rest of the stuff being banned to gosh knows where is ridiculous. You serve the Public, not the other way around. The people doing the recording aren’t as annoying as you and your fellow Trustees are. Good grief Lady.

    4. What’s the matter with you Trustees – do you have a problem with a video and audio that says you considered a 10 month severance package? Maybe that’s a clue it was a ridiculous idea. Note the repetition of the word ridiculous. You put this contract concoction on the agenda not the TAXPAYERS who should be outraged.

    How SHOULD you spell Grafton these days? C H I C A G O

  2. The Grafton trustees deserve to be banished to the back of the room – one in each corner, on a stool, facing the corner, with a dunce cap on each.

  3. In the picture of Mr. Moore and his video camera, there appears to be a tape recorder on the table in the foreground… kind of distracting. Can you edit it out and move it to the back of the room?

  4. Whine, whine, whine, all you people do is complain about the same non issue’s. What have any of you done to make your township a better place? My guess is nada zip nothing. Grow up pay your taxes like the other 98% of us without constently complaining about it.

    What about the road commish who hired his daughter as his assistant if that dosn’t smack of Chicago politics I don’t know what does.

    You couldn’t pull the video and camera crap at school board or Village meeting. Give you muckrackers an electorate vote once a year and you act like you can do whatever you want. No matter how ridiculous and obnoxious.

  5. “Grow up pay your taxes like the other 98% of us without constently complaining about it. ”

    First, a comment on the above quote. I guess 98% of the people like to be led like sheep.

    Second, this township gets the ‘here’s you sign’ award for pis$$in away the most money. Wonder how they handle their own finances. Also these salaries are absurd.

    Third, vote NO on any referendum.

    And finally fourth time to do away with townships altogether.

  6. uneedcrazypills, please read the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The Act (that’s state law, in case you don’t understand it) provides for taping and photography at public meetings. The McHenry County Board thought seriously (briefly) about trying to squelch flash photography and then backed off.

    A trustee is bothered about a flash that lasts 1/1000th of a second?

    Baloney! And I am suspect of their ordering photographers to the back of the room. Personally, I believe such an order is unenforceable. It’s a public meeting. The law allows photography.

    What are they going to do? Call the Huntley cops? It’ll be the trustees who are causing the disturbance, not the photographers.

    Please pass the checkbook.

  7. Recorders come in all sizes. Even cellphones can record.

    Perhaps the Trustees haven’t noticed that we have electric, indoor plumbing, and astronauts? It’s the 21st Century Trustees – not 1800 when Townships were actually needed.

    The Open Meetings Act DOES apply to Township Govt. That’s why you couldn’t shut people out of the Annual meeting if they weren’t Grafton voters. Nice try though. I give you an F for Failure to understand that People don’t like that garbage.

    Yes, Trustees, your days of being “ignored” by the eyes of the public are, at least, temporarily over. YOU are the ones who blew a “good gig” when you wanted to build HUGE on Taxpayers’ bucks. The silent sheep can’t trust you anymore – Bahhhhhhhhhhhd Trustees. Regular folks are tired of greed and big-headed politicians.

    It’s TAXPAYERS’ money you are wasting on 3 month severance package (formerly intended as a 10 month package). Another reason to not trust you to do what’s right.

  8. Open meeting, open meeting, open meeting, what do camera’s have to do with wasted tax dollars. Someone should flash camera’s in your face while you’re trying to work then lets hear listen to you squeel. Why would you care about pictures anyway? Are you gonna put them in your tax waster scrapbook how many picture’s of the board do you need? Thinking you might have a crush on them 🙂

    You are just a bunch of craby cry babies the township can’t even come close to what your school district wastes. Ha Ha Ha you lose at every turn waste here waste there waste, waste, waste. All of your taxing bodies are wasting your money 24hrs a day 7 days a week and all you can do complain on a blog. Blew a good gig the trustee’s make $100 a meeting!!! yep thats a fantastic gig 🙂

    I’m voting for what ever raises your taxes on the 13th and so are of my friends. Put that in you crazy pipe and smoke it. So funny even if you get the votes numbers you want you still lose 🙂 This board is around for 3 more years to spin you all right into the looney bin.

    Oh no comment on the road commish hiring family members?

    The cops are sheduled to be at that meeting already. so you’re not gonna get away with any monkey business.

  9. uneedcrazypills – you need more than pills – you need background information. If you just come here to yank people’s chains, thanks for contributing to zip.

    The “gig” in question had nothing to do with the $100 a meeting. It has to do with the way govt. entities like to do things shhhhhhhhh quietly. The flash camera thing could be an issue – the rest is just an attempt to be obstructive as far as the public’s right to see what’s going on with their money. Of course, you know that already.

    If you think letting govt waste money is okay instead of participating in trying to do things right, hey, it’s your right to drop out. Other’s try….and sometime win.

    Here’s to people who try to do the right thing and who do the right thing.

  10. I wouldn’t make a big deal about the camera/flash/video request – it’s a small room (I’ve been there) and as Cal’s photo’s of Betty Zirk pointed ou, you can still get a good picture of folks from that room and distance. It’s kina petty to be ‘jammin’ on a request to keep flashes/cameras to the rear of the room (it’s only 10-12 feet.

    Now, lets get on to real issues – like the severance package request what?!?!!?

  11. Uneedcrazypills…YES YOU DO!!! Either you are someone’s child yanking chains or you are really in need of serious help….and I am beginning to feel really sorry for you. You are no longer worthy of serious debate.

  12. Oh and by the way, in Crystal Lake at the city council level and even the Planning and Zoning level, you can watch our meetings live on channel 17 and even tape it if you want to…Then there is always the weekend rerun. What world are you living in Crazy?

  13. I get cable taped meetings, boring but I get it. I don’t get amateur henpecked utube meeting videos and taking 150 photographs of the same people.

    You can rail against your local government all you want. But the stances you take make you seem like a radical anti government group and thats troubling 🙁

    You have cable tought they only had that in Taj Mahal’s 🙂 Can’t beleave you’d pay a tax for TV go figure?

    If Congress can pay farmers not to raise crops, why can’t we pay Congress not to raise taxes?

    It’s hard to believe America was founded to avoid high taxation.

    There is no tax on brains; the take would be too small.

    Everybody works for the government, either on the payroll or the taxroll.

    Whenever one tax goes down, another goes up.

    Everything we have is taxed – even our patience.

  14. So, “uneedcrazypills”, have you dropped out of fighting for what is right?

    Why do some think that when the people, the Taxpayers, who pay the bills question elected officials decisions that the questioners are automatically wrong or bad?

    It’s the duty of citizens to watch their govt. Power corrupts.

    If the Govt. representatives dwell in oversized egos – the regular folks should get ticked off.

  15. Dee – I hear you about Govt. officials with oversized egos. An oldtimer told me that the reason the Coyners and the farmers want to keep the crap building on Vine street is because Ziller has his name on it “The Ziller Annex”. During Thursday’s meeting it was said that Linda’s newly promoted GA assistant (TJ) was a ghost payroller and had not been in to work for over three weeks. Bet TJ keeps getting her direct deposit. Also said was that Tom Halat and Judge Caldwell are buds. Do you think this will have any bearing on the outcome? Being buds and all?

  16. Discussing facts helps. Discussing true reasons helps. Fiction is just politics CHK.

    Way to “try” though.

  17. You should try fact! the The fiction you propagate here just make you a very angry and bitter person! That no way to go through life.

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