Prim Lists Zinke Vulnerabilities, Zinke Tosses Jail Deficit ICE Ball to County Board

In an almost full McHenry County Conference Center, Sheriff hopefuls Andy Zinke and Bill Prim faced off Tuesday night at a League of Women Voters forum.

Drawing the first opening statement, in a calm cadence, former Des Plaines Police Commander Prim outlined pledged to be fiscally prudent to ensure that our children and our children’s children can afford to live in McHenry County.force

He also forcefully stated five “won’ts” of a Prim Administration:

  • “I won’t tip off a business owner who is a large campaign donor when there is an illegal shipment of narcotics coming into their business.
  • “I won’t create a division between other elected officials by publicly berating them in the press.
  • “I won’t have the person that’s responsible for conducting internal investigations out passing my nominating petitions.
  • “I won’t create a roadblock for the dissemination of information that’s requested through the Freedom of Information.
  • “I won’t squander the taxpayer’s dollars or the courts time or employee time from the states attorneys’ office and the sheriff’s office trying to defend those positions as well.”

IMG_4554In his opening statement, Zinke told of his lifelong goal of being Sheriff.  He mentioned his wife, who was in attendance and hugged him on the stage after the event.

He dismissed Prim’s charges, saying, “Then, there’s the truth.  I’ll ignore most of the bogus information you’ve heard earlier.”

Next came a series of questions, screened by members of the League.

The question with the most substance to it concerned the contract for the Sheriff’s Office to house prisoners and detainees placed there by the Federal government.

(McHenry County Blog has analyzed the figures presented by $60,000 consultant Joseph Summerill.  From the figures presented last April, it appears that the County subsidized the Federal government $5-$6 million a year over the five year period 2008-2012.   See Part 1 and Part 2.)

“Do you favor extending the present contract with immigration beyond its current length, taking into account that expenses exceed reimbursements?

“If you do not, how would you handle the lose of jobs and the use of that space?”

Zinke was up first (candidates alternated with the one answered first, with the first responder getting thirty seconds more, if requested).

The McHenry County Jail control center on the ICE floor.

Andy Zinke

Andy Zinke

“First, do I favor the extension of the contract with ICE?

“Absolutely, if it’s cost effective, but that’s not up to me.

“That’s not up to the Sheriff.

“That’s up to the County Board.

“They are the ones who entered into that agreement in 2005…”

“It’s not a money-making system.  It’s a cash flow system that comes in that comes in.

“You don’t make money off the Federal government,” he admitted.

Zinke noted that the Feds paid $6.5 million to build out the third floor.

He noted that the County has not grown much recently.

“We see a way of continuing to bring cash flow into the county.

“We are actively pursuing an increase in the fee.”

He noted that he did not want to see jobs lost and favored attrition, if layoffs became necessary.

Prim was next up.

Bill Prim

Bill Prim

“I believe you are responsible for your budget.  You’re responsible for your premises.  So you have to be responsible for making that decision or at least making a recommendation.

“It hasn’t been cost effective to house the ICE detainees,” he said, “and that’s unfortunate…

“But regardless of which numbers you use, everybody knows we’re losing money–to the tune of at least $3 million [annually] if you use the consultant’s numbers.”

Prim pointed out the County is now charging “$15 a day more than our nearest competitors.”

“So the expenses do exceed the costs.  We do have some unused space, some unfinished space, and maybe we have the ability to go out and contract with some other counties and bring some additional prisoners in and increase that revenue.”

He suggested there may be other agencies needing jail space which “maybe we have the ability to go out and contract [with].”

With regard to the possibility of losing jobs, he agreed with Zinke that it should be through attrition.

Prim did say that some of the supervisory spots could be eliminated through attrition as well.

In his rebuttal, Zinke said, “Not saying that this program hasn’t been a win for McHenry County and a cost-effective program is an absolute lie.

“The consultant reports you refer to is a advertisement that was made by a consultant in
Washington, D.C., in order to get the County to hire him to do negotiations for the County.

“I’ve seen the report.  I’ve seen the information  you have.  It’s erroneous. It’s inaccurate.  You don’t know what you are talking about and you’re being fed that information by people that don’t understand the process whatsoever.”


Prim Lists Zinke Vulnerabilities, Zinke Tosses Jail Deficit ICE Ball to County Board — 25 Comments

  1. The bottom line to this debate is that Undersheriff Andrew Zinke fired his torpedoes, one after another into Bill Prim’s hull and he was sinking throughout the debate as Prim struggled with his own words as he was drowning.

    Also, I am still in shock how Bill Prim was wearing those 100 year old unpolished cowboy boots and looked like he just came off the range from riding on his jackass.

    What was he thinking??????

    I know he is uneducated, but dear God man, at least he could have tried to look professional.

    It was an unforgettable debate that I am sure that you Prim supporters are trying to forget.

  2. Fukoku, those are working boots, anyone who works for a good days living, does not have to polish themselves up.

    So much for the polish with the Nygren/Zinke regime.

  3. Sorry another…this was a public debate–the first and only one (most likely) in this contest.

    This was THE time for the candidates to ‘polish’ up and present themselves to a (as yet) undecided public in a hotly debated contest.

    First thing I noticed in the pics were Prim’s boots…right, wrong or not–image does matter.

    There’s an old adage about dressing for the part.

  4. really, you only have to polish up to go before a Judge.

    Hard working men do not have to polish up, how many shoes were polished up at that debate . . . most were real people who do not have to fool people.

    out there watching were polished up. I call that FAKE. Polished up does not mean respect!

  5. THey hire a consultant, pay for it and then they do not like the results??

    So, Then Zinke says the results are a LIE!!!!

  6. Zinke sounds like a Dem.

    Shove the blame on somebody else.

    For years I have been hearing about how much money the jail brought in.

    Nygren bragged about it everywhere.

    Whenever he was asked how much money went out, he would puff up angry and not answer.

    Now his clone and heir apparent is saying you don’t make money off of this.

    They need to go.

    Prim makes sense.

  7. I’m shocked by how unbiased this report was.

    Well done Cal.

    Nevertheless, Zinke won the debate.

    I would like to point out that the juvenile detention question was a very important one too because both men agreed that there should be less incentive to detain youths; that we should look outside jail cells to get them help.

  8. I agree Zinke won the “debate”, but come on guys, Prim’s problem was his boots??

    They’re just shoes.

    He has enough real problems with the reality that he’s not gonna win, so I’m sure boots are low on his list of concerns.

    Besides, boots ARE very comfortable- worn some for last.

    35 years myself, some good, others not so much.

    Stick to issues; some have a tough time with that.

    County got 6.5 mil to build out its jail which taxpayers didn’t have to pay for ( note the word COUNTY, not MCSD), at least not directly.

    Any time you deal with the government there’s a win/loose joint in the mix.

  9. AZ – HELLO – THE $6.5 million was our tax money as well.

    Where the hell do you think it came from??

  10. You must be kidding.

    The cowboy boots?

    Is that all you take into consideration when voting for a candidate?

    It’s a shame that all you can come up with is a fashion design issue.

    I then can only presume that Mr. Prim was a well qualified candidate for McHenry County Sheriff and you couldn’t find anything wrong with his qualifications or his views on the future for the citizens of McHenry County.

  11. Is that all the Zinke supporters do is make cheep shots at another person.

    That alone is not very professional.

    What do they have to hide that they are trying to divert peoples attention by talking about shoes rather than the issues.

  12. So, what they are saying is, boots determine if Prim is capable of running the McHenry County Sheriffs office.

    Have to say they are desperate.

    That is a ridiculous assumption.

    They should know better than that.

    Frankly, that only shows how superficial and shallow they are…

    Personally, I would much rather have a Sheriff that wears boots, than put up with the Antics of Andy Zinke..

    The Nygren and Zinke Circus will never end if Zinke is voted into office.

    What needs to be recognized is that Andy did not address his own reprehensible behavior or take the time to explain the Rita Corporation fiasco, that famous middle finger and more.

    Andy Zinke, had a lot to say, but what we need to realize is what he didn’t say during the debate.

    He owes an explanation to the people of McHenry County, about the things he has said, and his bad behavior during is campaign.

    If Andy is voted into office, his actions are just a preview of things to come..

    Andy should be embarrassed and ashamed of himself because of how he has conducted himself…

    Instead, he accepts no responsibility and has justified everything he has done. He is a disgrace disgrace to our County.

    He acts more like a child than a Man that is capable of running the Sheriffs Department..

    And, they are more worried about boots. If you really cared about the real issues, they wouldn’t be using boots someone wears to validate their opinions.

    You are right Susan, Prim is the best candidate for the job..

  13. So Fukoku aka Mrs. Zinke, glad you were able to control yourself and not yell profanities from the crowd.

    So much classier than cowboy boots!

    Of course giving the finger from a tax payer funded sheriff’s car to a crowd of tax payers is REALLY classy.

    It was obvious to me one side had the answers to the questions written for him on index cards.

    Didn’t appear he needed to think on his feet…wasn’t even “smart” enough to pretend he wasn’t given the questions ahead of time.

    If the public knew what was really occurring in our so called Sheriffs Dept the crooked lawyers and judges in this town would not be able to save their corrupt hides.

    Wake up McHenry county, you cannot afford to keep paying the tax dollars wasted on covering up the incredible lawlessness of the branch of government elected to uphold it!


  14. There is much people do not know about Bill.

    He went to school in Montana, He has branded and roped cattle.

    Worked ranches in every way.

    Has family in the ranch business out west.

    Boots are a part of him.

    A real sheriff!

    The toughest thing Zinke ever did was ride a bicycle!

  15. Time for a little truth…

    The McHenry County Government Center is just like most other government buildings across this great nation and is essentially nothing but a “den of thieves.”

    Most of our elected officials build their little kingdoms supported by cronies to whom they hand “gravy” positions, tons of overtime and promote them constantly.

    Mix in wasteful spending, training sessions all over the country and then paint a pretty picture for the dumb voters.

    We can see this exist in our little kingdom on Seminary Ave.

    Our Undersheriff blames the County Board for the shortfall in revenue and failure of the jail bed rental “program.”

    This is the same County Board the Sheriff Administration goes to every time they replace a jailer who leaves or retires like the 7 new ones there now.

    They also beg for the endless promotions within that facility.

    This despite the numbers of inmates/detainees falling drastically.

    Add to that the formation of specialty jail teams with all their training, the special sergeants, (IT sergeant, special team sergeant) and you see that instead of belt tightening they have done the opposite.

    The same number of jailers watching empty and near empty cell blocks on the third floor makes no sense.

    Of course we have a Jail Deputy Chief we ferret in from Lake County on our dime (we pay for his gas) despite having a very able Chief already.

    There is also a number of jailers doing clerical work; two in Programs ordering supplies, one quartmermaster ordering uniforms, two folding clothes for the inmates, two filing paperwork in classification.

    Pretty good gigs for topped out officers at over $37 an hour.

    The fiscal irresponsibility shown at the Sheriff’s Department is incredible!

    For the Undersheriff to blame the County Board while all this waste is going on at the jail is inexcusable.

    Of course there are plenty of people who support this waste.

    Those beneficiaries in Patrol and the Jail constantly comment in this forum and others just like it.

    George Bernard Shaw said it best when he stated, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.”

  16. I’ve been reading all these posts and have been reading all of the qualifications that each candidate has. Seem to me that Mr.Prim is farmore qualified that Mr. Zinke.

    People,just go on each site and read for yourself.

    It looks like Mr. Zinke is a career politician and talks like his views are written by some political speech writer.

    Mr. Prim is more authentic and really is concerned about the people of McHenry County.

    I want a Sheriff who represents the people and not a machine.

    Mr. Prim has so many more qualifications than Mr. Zinke and I have decided
    to vote for Mr. Prim.

    Also, Susan you hit the nail on the head about it’s not a fashion contest.

    It’s the future on McHenry County.

  17. Oldtimer; Of course the money was ours, the taxpayers; wasn’t saying that.

    What I was saying is that the money came from the government (basically US) but at least we got something out of it, a finished third floor, in a jail that was origionally only to be two floors tall.

    However, then Sheriff Hendle and a few of the county board members who worked on the design and plans for it, figured that, eventually, that would be too small, and rather than build another floor on LATER, and re-structure the building to hold the third floor, it was cheaper to build a threee story building and leave the third floor empty until needed.

    It became needed, and instead of hitting up the LOCAL McHenry County tax payers to foot the bill for the finish, they got the State or Federal government, which is the ENTIRE State of Country’s residents, to spread out the cost and finish the build.

    You MAY want to call it “pork barrel”, but at least the citizens of THIS county got something for it.

    Whatever, the boots concern is not worthy of someone’s time, nor this blog.

    I’ve known Zinke’s family since his Father owned a Hardware store in McHenry back in the 70’s, and I back hime and trust him.

    Others don’t, but we’ll se in a couple of weeks who is wrong and who is right.

  18. Time for a little more truth, Rich.

    Electing Mr. Primm as our next sheriff will do nothing to change our local “den of thieves” on Seminary Avenue.

    It will just shift control of that den from one GOP faction to another GOP faction.

    We will trade in Nygren’s “machine” for Primm’s “machine”.

    That is politics.

    But, nothing else will change, just who is in control.

    Cronyism, Corruption, Fiefdoms and Good Old Boy Political Patronage will all continue, just with a new set of Good Old Boys.

    Sheriff Primm and his cowboy boot wearing Posse.

    The Bianchi/Primm machine will dominate local GOP politics.

    And, whether Primm or Zinke, I think that we will still have a great Sheriff’s Department with a lot of good, hard-working people.

    To suggest anything else is naive or deceptive.

  19. Zinke:

    “The consultant reports you refer to is a advertisement that was made by a consultant in Washington, D.C., in order to get the County to hire him to do negotiations for the County.

    “I’ve seen the report. I’ve seen the information you have. It’s erroneous. It’s inaccurate. You don’t know what you are talking about and you’re being fed that information by people that don’t understand the process whatsoever.”

    – Where’s Zinke’s evidence the report discussing the cost effectiveness of McHenry County Housing Federal prisoners and detainees is “inaccurate?”

    Just saying something is inaccurate doesn’t make it inaccurate.

  20. Teacher 155 I do not believe that is correct..

    The “Regime” has been in power for decades in McHenry County…

    Prim is not a part of the Regime or the Good Ol Boys Club. He never has been..

    Prim will not longer accept same politics different day administrations.

    I have lived in McHenry County since 1977 and am very familiar with McHenry County Politics and corruption.

    I was made an offer to pay of a Judge in exchange for custody and have lived corruption in other ways through Court cases.

    Over the years, several people including, Politicians, Sheriffs Officers, Business owners and more have contacted me, and have revealed their own stories of corruption…

    We solve corruption, by changing the leadership and by implementing a zero tolerance system.

    Bill Prim is a man that has home town values and he is our greatest hope for change in McHenry County…

  21. Duncan, please give it a rest with the alleged corrupt judge you keep referring to with no details or names.

    If this is true and I somehow doubt it from what nonsensical stuff you continue to spew ad nauseum, I would offer a couple of thoughts.

    I am well aware (by virtue of plea agreements, some in Greylord, IIRC) that a fee booster for some crooked attorneys was to solicit a “bribe” to “take care of the judge.”

    Only the truth turned out to be that the judge knew nothing and it was just a scheme by the attorney to pick up a little cash.

    Another thought is that you, YOU Duncan McHenry master of the universe, had a opportunity if not a responsibility to take the details of this plot to the authorities.

    If you’d had a pair, this judge would be off the bench or vindicated.

    But you didn’t so we’ll never know the truth. Were I you, I think I’d keep quiet about it so that people would not think me a fool or a hypocrite.

    Just saying.

    Are you old enough, smart enough, to remember “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem?”

  22. Fukoku
    Re-read your first post.Now you are back peddling.

    Now we go from cowboy boots to an allegation of Prim chewing gum.


    He was not chewing gum.

    Someone gave Mr. Prim a cough drop.

    I really wish the Zinky people would have taken the debate seriously and their comments seriously.

  23. You want serious commentary? Here is serious commentary:

    To begin, Mr Prim came out attacking Zinke immediately. Bill came off as rather cold and his initial indictments about Rita as well allegations concerning petitions being circulated were never responded to by Zinke. Zinke took the high road and decided to focus his opening statement on what made him qualified.

    When asked by he was qualified later in the debate, Mr. Prim didn’t point to any qualifications, rather he decided to say he was qualified because he would be able to ask within the department from other officers what needs to be done and then went on a ramble about cost savings saying that there was a 5,000% increase in budgetting at the Sherriff office, which Zinke later pointed out was primarily related to if an officer wants time to take off for his family (i.e. if an officer had a baby and needed time off.)

    There were moments in the debate where the two candidates actually agreed on issues. For example: Both candidates believed that there should not be additional juvenile detention at the sheriff office. As well, they both agreed that social media was a great opportunity to enhance the sheriff’s ability to serve the community. Finally, both candidates agreed that THEY would be better as Sheriff in McHenry County! 😉

    All joking aside, Zinke coldly pointed out that Prim overexaggerated how much money he personally brought into his former department by stating that the 9 million dollars was a multi-department operation and to say Prim brought 9 million all in was an insult to other offices. Prim never responded to this point.

    Mr. Prim attacked Andy for the ICE contract. Zinke responded that it was the responsibility of the County Board to negotiate this contract – which is true as Kevin Craver pointed out on Twitter. Prim asked for additional time and moved the goal posts saying that the Sheriff would still have input in to the decision, effectively backing off of many allegations on this blog that it is the sheriff’s office is fault for the contract.

    Zinke also pointed out that there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the ICE contract stating that the statistic sources Mr. Prim was using are entirely false. Prim never responded to this claim.

    Prim had a great argument when he said that Keith Nygren was not originally from McHenry County. But this was largely a misnomer as Zinke pointed out he had spent time in the community and forged relationships with many of the other departments. Prim, and I quote said, “I have worked with all… well most of the agencies in government [in my career.]” Short on the details, Prim resulted to general brush strokes of “cut spending, eliminate waste, boost morale” as his goals for the department. Andy got into specifics, but to the casual observer, may have come off as a bit confusing because he did say so much.

    Zinke had a great point about the importance of social media in the Sheriff office and being more technologically oriented. During the same question, Prim began on a ramble about how it was important for Volunteers to be part of the sheriff office when he was asked the same question of technology. Zinke asked for more time and said that he would keep to the technology question, rebuttling some of Prims points on the technology question.

    Lasting thoughts:
    Andy Zinke came off a bit robotic at times and spoke a bit too fast for some of the old folks at home. Prim came of rather monotone and was actually chewing gum as the debate began, which came off as rather unprofessional – especially for someone who would be looking over a 36 million county agency. Zinke was very detailed in his responses and proved a very great understanding of the department as it is today. Prim tried to point faults in Zinke even in his closing argument instead of propping himself up, yet, to the casual observer, Prim’s examples may have proved a bit confusing because he never really went on to explain WHAT the Rita Corp situation was or what the deal was with petitioners having complaints filed against them in the Sheriff office.

    Prim’s body language was rather dismissive, condescending and his voice monotone. Zinke, though quick with the tongue was a bit too defensive at times, yet proved an immense understanding of the department compared to Prim. And Prim, despite a large stack of paper next to him that he only referenced the first sheet a total of four times, wrote few notes, and seemed a bit out of place. I would agree with Gary Rabine’s previous analysis that “Prim is no politician.” That said, after this debate, Zinke proved not only his mastery of the McHenry County Sheriff’s office, but also that of public life with his mastery of the stage and having keenly pointed out that Bill Prim has not contacted ANY of the local police chief’s in the area. Overall, it definitely seemed like Zinke won with Prim finishing yards behind.

  24. That is what is called honest dialogue, not the hyperbolic ox dung that most of you subscribe to.

  25. AND to those who say Prim was enjoying a cough drop, I say “How can you chew a cough drop?”

    He was chewing something and that in itself, on a public stage, is unprofessional.

    I don’t want to even go into the cowboy boots……

    We are ALL better than trying to be the next member of Queer Eye for the Sheriff Guy.

    C’MON people.


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