This is the second half of an article in which Grafton and Nunda Townships are compared as seen through the eyes of courtroom testimony before Judge Michael Caldwell in the Grafton Township separation of powers case.
Speaking later of finances, Heisler said he provided an income statement and a balance sheet every month.
Heisler was asked to compare Nunda to Grafton Township.
“Our levy’s about $1.1 million. The road district is $3.5 to $4 million. I assume Grafton is similar in size to that.” [See this article for Grafton Township financial information.]
Number of employees were requested.
The supervisor’s office has one full- and one part-time employee “and myself,” Heisler said.
The assessor’s office has seven and the road commissioner “18, I think” to service “100 miles of road.”
The Nunda Township Supervisor was asked if he ever “terminated a township attorney.”
DiCianni again objected to “relevance.”
“Overruled,” Judge Caldwell said.
Heisler told of a situation in which a partner in the law firm of the township attorney represented a developer whose subdivision was deemed objectionable by the Township Planning Commission.
The Trustees agreed and passed a resolution.
Heisler said he didn’t have a problem with his township attorney’s colleague representing the developer until the other lawyer “defamed me” in a letter.
“I had to dismiss the law firm. I couldn’t deal with a law firm with a partner who would defame me.”
“Did you obtain board approval before?”
“I didn’t dismiss him. I asked for him for a letter of resignation, which he gave me.”
Nelson probed further into his relationship with the other elected officials.
“Who directs the actions of the township.
“I’m chairman of the board and CEO. When I came on board we adopted Robert’s Rules of Order and adopted rules we used at the county board.
“That’s how we conduct our meeting.
“I make the day-to-day decisions in the township.
“There are only two authorized to commit Nunda Township for anything, purchasing anything from supplies to a Chevrolet—the road commissioner and the supervisor.”
Heisler added that he “engage(s) an attorney and a CPA firm without approval of the board.”
When DiCianni got his turn at questioning Heisler he asked whether he would include items on the agenda requested by trustees.
“I’d probably discuss it with him and if after (doing so, thought the request appropriate would do so.)”
Concerning paying bills, Heisler was asked if he paid them after his board approved them.
“We have the checks made out.” [I remember Linda Moore’s have said she did that, but stopped preparing hers in advance when the board started disapproving some.]
“You’ve never refused to pay a bill approved by the board?” DiCianni continued. “Always?”
“When the board has questions, you answer?”
Does Heisler show the trustees financial information?
“Was Robert’s Rules of Order approved by the board?”
“Yes. I get along with my board. They have a right to say, ‘No.’”
The Trustees’ lawyer asked about the “process by which you and the road commissioner hire an attorney. The practice is that (your) board hasn’t required advice and consent?”
“That’s our practice,” Heisler replied.
Asked about the attorney who was discharged, the answer was, “He resigned. I asked him for his resignation and he did.”
On re-cross examination, Nelson probed Nunda Township trustees had access to the township’s attorney with resulting bills that were paid by the township.
The answer was a big “No.”
“On one occasion (a trustee called) James Militello, Sr., for clarification. I’ve forgotten the issue. When the legal bill came through, it was on there.
“I asked the trustee to abstain from voting.
“No board member is allowed to commit Nunda Trustee (on anything).
Heisler was asked if his township was typical.
As he answered, “Yes,” DiCianni objected for “lack of foundation.”
This time he was sustained.
So, Nelson asked him about the organization he had chaired, the McHenry County Township Supervisors Association.
He said the group met monthly and was informal.
Asked whether he familiarized himself with “operations of the other townships,” Heisler replied, “Somewhat. A great deal of our discussion is around our General Assistance program.”
Laying foundation, I guess.
“Objection. Lack of foundation, relevance,” DiCianni interjected.
“Overruled,” Judge Caldwell quickly ruled.
My notes say that DiCianni next started asking questions.
“When the board asks you questions, you answer them, right?”
“You’re not familiar with any township that have dysfunctional relationships between the supervisor an trustees?”
“This is not a club where we sit around and always agree,” Heisler replied. “I always vote last so as not to influence board members.”
“When the board passes a policy, you disagree with, you enforce it, (right)?”
It didn’t make my notes, but I’m pretty sure Heisler answered in the affirmative.
The questioning ceased when Heisler said he was unaware of any other townships with township administrators.