McHenry County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill got her way on who will be appointed to the McHenry County 708 Mental Health Board Tuesday night.
At the beginning of the meeting, Hill gave her version of what happened leading up to the public controversy on which her opponents framed the issue because none of Hill’s supporters explained on the Board floor why they rejected the Committee’s recommendation.
The vote was 16-8 for Ferguson, about the same as the 18-6 vote Hill enjoyed when her coalition defeated the nomination of former McHenry County College Board President Scott Summers two weeks ago.
Hill explained that she started to get questions about what the Committee was doing, about the 4-3 vote and the Executive Session [for discussing the qualities of the nominees].
When the Committee nomination failed 18-6, Hill said she knew that had to do something. Those are not her exact words, but I believe them to be a fair representation of what she said.
Because she moved immediately after the vote two weeks ago to assert the power given her by State law to make the nomination herself, however, it was obvious that the move was previously planned and not a reaction to the vote.
There was lots of talk about conspiracy, with those who voted with Hill two weeks ago denying it and Mike Walkup wondering if a cover-up were occurring. He said that was the public perception.
“If we’re not,we’re doing a pretty good job of [making it look like one is],” he said.
Walkup also said that he had heard that Hill had met with Interim 708 Board Executive Director Todd Schroll.
“If conversations like that can happen, that’s a really big problem…having the person [being hired helping pick the person who will pick the Executive Director].
Walkup told of other counties that have “a boss system.”
“We’re now sliding in the direction toward a boss system.”
He and others argued that financial acumen was what was needed now on the 708 Board. while supporters of Ferguson praised her knowledge of the care giving side of mental health services.
Hill said she had called Salgado and “offered her an apology.”
“I never thought there was a conflict-of- interest,” Hill asserted, although Northwest Herald reporter Kevin Craver reported that having Salgado employed by as agency (Pioneer Center) which got money from the 708 Board was “the epitome of conflict of interest.”
“I meant the appearance of impropriety,” Hill said Tuesday night.
“I agree with the State’s Attorney there is no conflict of interest.”
Later in the meeting Diane Evertson seemed to startle Hill when she inquired if Hill might have a conflict-of-interest.
“You mean that my son receives services [from Pioneer Center]?”
“That’s the exact question that we have with Ms. Salgado and Jim Heisler.” [Heisler’s wife works for Pioneer Center.]
Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Kelly was asked for her opinion.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of this,” she replied from the audience.
Hill seemed incredulous, asking how one could “construe that Cathy would do my bidding.”
“You recommend a candidate who funnels money to an organization where your son receives services,” Evertson replied.
“Don’t you see a conflict?”
“No,” Hill replied.
Those supporting Hill’s nomination for Crystal Lake City Councilwoman Cathy Ferguson follow:
- Michele Aavang
- Sue Drafkorn
- Joe Gottemoller
- Jim Heisler
- Tina Hill
- John Jung
- Ken Koehler
- Bob Martens
- Mary McCann
- Mary McClellan
- Anna May Miller
- Bob Nowak
- Nick Provenzano
- Sandy Salgado
- Carolyn Schofield
- Paula Yensen
Those not supporting Ferguson’s nomination were
- Yvonne Barnes
- Nick Chirikos
- Diane Evertseon
- John Hammerand
- Donna Kurtz
- Ersel Schuster
- Mike Skala
- Mike Walkup
Moving out of the Hill coalition of two weeks ago were Yvonne Barnes, Ersel Schuster and Mike Skala.
Moving into it by supporting Ferguson was Sandra Salgado.