McHenry County Blog has obtained a copy of the transcript of the May 4th court hearing in the separation of powers suit brought by Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore last spring after the Township Trustees tried to strip her of virtually all of her power by giving it to a newly-appointed Township Administrator.
The main result was Judge Michael Caldwell’s slapping down that effort, plus dismissing the Township Attorney that Moore tried to fire, Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, a partner an the law firm of Ancel Glink.
The township officials continue to disagree, which requires continuing intervention by Judge Caldwell.
In a moment of levity not captured on the transcript, Judge Caldwell ended the hearing by saying,
“And the beat goes on.”
Caldwell also tried the case instigated by allies of Moore and including Moore as a plaintiff before she took office as Township Supervisor which ruled that the former Township Board had failed to provide adequate notice when they approved construction of a new township hall. His ruling was upheld by the 2nd Appellate Court.
In the early May court hearing, which you can read here, Caldwell ruled that the Township Trustees must approve Moore’s selection for Township Attorney. That choice is the Rockford attorney John Nelson, who won her separation of powers case against the Trustees.
Needless to say, the Trustees do not want to do so and after the Judge’s ruling, their attorney Ancel Glink litigator Thomas DiCianni asked for a stay of the order so that he could appear what he said was a separation of powers question to the Appellate Court.
The final part of the transcript is reproduced below:
THE COURT: While I’m not unsympathetic to some of the arguments made by Mr. DiCianni, I think the separation of powers question is probably a little overly broad to be applied directly to this particular dispute, primarily because we’re dealing with a unit of
We are not dealing with the United States of America where the separation of powers between the legislative, judicial, and executive branches is far more important than it is here at the local level.
I am also sensitive to the fact that courts should not be and I believe are prohibited ordinarily from interfering with the exercise of legislative discretion. I don’t want to get involved in the idea
that I have to tell the township that they have to approve this road or this contract or anything else.
I did not run for circuit judge for the purpose of being the township supervisor or the — or a township trustee. I have no interest in running this — this unit of local government.
However, this is a case pending before me in a court of equity. I do have the power to enjoin what I consider to be the continuing violation of a statute.
I believe — I don’t know — This is personal for me. This is a personal remark. I probably shouldn’t make it, but I don’t really know why you would want this job.
But that having been said, I believe the failure or refusal of the trustees to approve Mr. Nelson as the township attorney is merely a pretext to continue their ongoing dispute with Linda Moore, the township supervisor.
It will therefore be my order that at the next regular meeting of the town board that the trustees reported McMahon, Murphy, and Zirk approve the appointment of John Nelson as the township attorney. The fact that he disagrees with them or they with him quite frankly is one of the qualifications for the job.
I don’t come to this dispute or the issue of being an attorney for a local government without considerable experience in this arena, having served as a municipal attorney for 30 years, 25 of those with the City of Woodstock. If I had a reputation for one thing (indiscernible) of those years, it was my ability to tell the aldermen or councilmen of the City of Woodstock or really for that matter any other unit of government I represented, things they didn’t want to hear in the first place.
So I don’t regard the ongoing dispute as being a conflict of interest that would bar Mr. Nelson from serving.
That will be my order.
I want the trustees mentioned by name in any draft order that you give.
Now, I also advise– Somebody is going to have to advise these people if they don’t follow it– They are free not to follow it, but that will activate contempt proceedings.
MR. DICIANNI: Well, I would — I suppose I will have to do this by written motion, but I will be moving to stay the order pending appeal.
THE COURT: It’s not ripe.
MR. DICIANNI: Well, I think it is. It’s an injunction, and injunctions can be appealed–
THE COURT: Okay.