Third Time – County Asks for Valley Hi Board Applicants

Valley Hi Nursing Home

Valley Hi Nursing Home

This is the third time that this press release has been sent out by the McHenry County Board.  The only thing different in this version from the others is the date by which the applications are due.

The McHenry County Board is accepting applications from individuals interested in appointment to the VALLEY HI NURSING HOME OPERATING BOARD.

Three positions are available for terms expiring on June 30, 2017.

Expertise in the healthcare field is desired, but is not an exclusive criterion for membership on this Board.

Application forms are available at the County Board Office, Room 209, McHenry County Government Center, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock, IL 60098 (815-334-4221) or at the County’s website at

Completed applications should be returned to the County Board office no later than 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. If mailing your application, certified or registered mail is recommended. Mailed applications should be sent to the following address: McHenry County Board, 2200 North Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098.

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Valley Hi has a separate tax levy and has accumulated about $38.7 million,

$26,677,085.13 in the checking account and $12 million in Certificates of Deposit.

It’s annual budget is $10-11 million and pretty much breaks even.

Valley Hi Cash on hand 2006-13This is an opportunity for a taxpayer advocate to do some real good.


Third Time – County Asks for Valley Hi Board Applicants — 13 Comments

  1. Why are we having problems filling the plethora of positions on unelected commissions and committees?

    Why do we elect people to hold office and then expect non-elected residents to do the work?

    Why have so many citizen commissions / committees which consist of non-elected residents who make recommendations to the ELECTED people who overturn or totally ignore the citizen recommendations?

    Most commissions / committees filled with unelected residents are simply RUBBER STAMPS for whatever STAFF (paid public sector employees)put in front of the committee / commission.

    When the committee / commission does not kowtow to what STAFF wants, the County Board simply overrides the will of the committee / commission.

    I suggest to you that all of these committees / commissions are simply a facade to make it APPEAR that there is more citizen involvement.

  2. Another way to analyze the budget is to study alternatives.

    What if VH blew down in a tornado?

    128 beds. $240 a day paid rate (comparable to for-profit facilities).

    128x$240×365 days=$11,212,800.

    If there were zero reimbursements, the place should operate at breakeven (assuming the day rate that most for-profit facilities charge is accurate) on $11,212,800.

    Another option would be to offer vouchers for the gap between Medicaid reimbursement rates and private-pay rates, for non-short-term McHenry County resident.

    According to

    the 2015 per diem for VH is $163.36.

    $240-$163.36= $76.64


    $9809.92×365 =$3,580,620.8

    So McHenry County could offer a voucher to make up the difference between Medicaid reimbursement rates and private pay rates to 100% of bed capacity population (128 individuals) for 365 days of the year for less than the 2014 tax levy of $4.5 million.

  3. In my two years as the County Board liason to Valley Hi I concluded that it is being run very well by Tom Annarella and his staff so that is not the problem.

    The problem is that precisely because it is being so well run it has barely needed the levy funds and the surplus has continued to pile up year after year. (Also not earning enough interest but that is in the County Treasurer’s hands).

    Toward the end of my term we started to explore an idea that originated on this blog that the legislature be asked to amend the law so that we could reduce the levy when it was not needed without having to lose the ability to go back to it should we experience problems with state reimbursement funding (which is starting to happen).

    As it stands now if we don’t use the levy, we lose it.

    This is one of the unintended consequences of PTELL.

    This idea did not make it to the table in Springfield with the current session and, to my knowledge, has not been taken up by the County Board legislative committee.

    Hopefully someone currently on the PHHS committee is going to carry the torch on this going into the 2016 legislative period as I have been taken off of that committee as well.

    As to the Board, I would say that there was typically very little input from VH Board members on this or any other issue at the meetings beyond looking for typographical errors in the minutes of previous meetings.

    Some of this has been due to the format of the meetings which essentially consisted of Mr. Annarella giving long reports on a series of issues , many of which are very complex and have to do with reimbursement formulas and how those are being used, issues about patient care, medication tracking, state inspections of the building, etc.

    It takes a while on the board if you don’t already know those things just to get up to speed.

    Very few members, however, asked questions of him during these presentations.

    By the time we would finish listening to Tom, two hours had passed and there was really no time to go into the bigger issues. (Perhaps having more in the way of previously written reports would help).

    I had pushed on several occasions for a special planning meeting where we didn’t have to spend all of the time on housekeeping and could get right to the larger questions but it never materialized before I was taken off of that board.

    Ironically, the person who replaced me was the one remaining County Board member who was calling for privatization in the past, and who is not currently a member of the PHHS Committee, contrary to previous practice.

    Therefore, no one is now reporting to PHHS on Valley Hi insofar as I am aware, other than the County Administrator.

    I think new blood is needed on the VH Operating Board.

    While having background in the health profession is helpful, at this point we have that already and I would like to see people with more of a financial bent.

    I would encourage people who read this blog and have a good fiscal background, or at least an interest in financial issues, to start attending meetings, read the minutes of previous meetings, and apply for these positions.

    I would not like to see another round of applicants where we only have one for each opening and have no choices.

    To respond to the first comment here, we have about 250 appointed positions in the county spread out among 30 or 40 different commissions and boards.

    There is no way for County Board members to stay on top of what all of these commissions and boards do without making the former a full time position with pay to match.

    We therefore do have to rely on the appointed citizens to be the watchdogs.

    I would have to agree, however, that this often is lacking.
    , which explains how the Mental Health Board became the behemoth it is today.

    I was criticized on the Board floor yesterday by current PHHS Chairman Mary McCann for saying that publically, and was blamed for the fact that we often don’t have enough people applying for these positions.

    My response is that I would rather see fewer people sitting on these boards than have them occupied by chair warmers.

    We also need to do a better job of trying to make the public aware of these openings beyond just following the required procedures.

    There is a brief discussion of this on the audio of yesterday’s CB meeting towards the beginning before the Chair cut off that discussion as not being germaine to the issue on the floor, which was the appointment to the MCCD board (where we had only one applicant).

    We need to talk about that some more, possibly at Management Services where I remain a member.

    In the meantime the folks who read this blog and others really need to step up here an put their time where their blogs posts are.

    Government is not going to change unless YOU take action to change it.

  4. Clearly press releases aren’t working.

    Therefore it is time to try something different.

    I have a suggestion: The County should spend a couple of grand to run a full page ad in the Herald (and other local papers) with a big headline:


    Follow that with text explaining that

    (a) that it doesn’t take that much time, perhaps on average a few hours each week;

    (b) that the County is looking for taxpayer watchdogs; and

    (c) if regular people DON’T apply, the only people left are people who want more of whatever service each board provides, which leads to higher taxes.

    It might not work, but it’s worth an experiment.

  5. Mr. Walkup makes good points.

    I still maintain that unless we replace most of the current Board, NOTHING will change.

    The same goes for Springfield.

    As long as We The People keep electing people like Anna May Miller, Sue Draffkorn, Mary McCann, Joe Gottemoller, Mike Skala, Bob Nowak, Carolyn Schofield, Nick Provenzano, Bob Martens, John Jung, Larry Smith, and Michele Aavang, nothing will change.


    Mike is correct.

    We need some of the people who post on this blog to run for County Board and State offices!!

  6. Volunteering for a governmental board is a great way to exercise local control and volunteer in the community.

    The County Board could be doing much more to prepare citizens for such service.

    The County Board could make it much easier for citizens to learn how the County operates, so citizens can incrementally learn how county government operates.

    For example, the McHenry County Board should post all its collective bargaining agreements on its website.

    The Human Resources page is a good place to do so and that’s a common location for collective bargaining agreements posted by taxing districts.

    At Valley Hi, the registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are represented by Service Employees Union International Local 74 (SEIU Local 73), which is a public sector labor union.

    Thus there is a collective bargaining agreement between the McHenry County Board and SEIU Local 73.

    Other employees at Valley Hi area also represented by SEIU Local 73.

    Here are at least 10 public sector union bargaining units in place at the County.

    They were not always in place, they gradually organized over the years.

    – FOP Unit 1 Deputies in Sheriff’s Office
    – FOP Unit 2 Corrections
    – FOP Unit 3 Civilians in Sheriff’s Office
    – IUOE Local 150 Div of Transportation Employees
    – IUOE Local 150 Facilities Mgmt Maint Employees
    – MAP Chapter 515 Circuit Clerk Office Employees
    – SEIU Local 73 Animal Control & Kennel Techs
    – SEIU Local 73 Coroner Office
    – SEIU Local 73 Recorder
    – SEIU Local 73 Valley Hi RN & LPN

    The practice of allowing public sector union members to vote on collective bargaining agreements, but not allowing taxpayers to vote, should be abolished.

    Level the playing field.

    If public sector union members (the rank and file) get to vote on the agreement, then taxpayers should also get to vote on the agreement.

    If taxpayers do not get to vote on the agreement, then public sector union members (the rank and file) should not be able to vote either.

  7. Or at least volunteer for a board or commission first which will also give you something to put on your resume when you run for elective office.

    A case in point, the lone applicant we had for MCCD board was a very knowledgeable person about the MCCD as he has attended numerous meetings and had a very deep perspective on what the MCCD is.

    However, he was the president of the county horse association and his beef with the MCCD is apparently that there are not enough contiguous horse trails.

    Does this mean he favors buying more land so the existing trail system can be hooked up, and/or put more horse trails on existing MCCD property, both of which are expense items?

    When I asked him about the police force he couldn’t answer the question despite having attended meetings for the past 3 years.

    I presume that he knew about the opening from being essentially a fixture at the meetings.

    No one in the general public seems to have known about it, however.

    Not to take anything away from the gentleman who was very sincere and very diligent and who I am sure will make a good addition to the board, but he struck me as having a single issue agenda, so I and several others voted against.

    This is not to say that we shouldn’t have a representative from the horse owner community on the MCCD board, but it would have been nice to have had some choices.

    Government is not a spectator sport.

    It is all very well and good to shout from the bleachers, but we need some players down on the field as well.

  8. first of all WHY do you Need so many people on a board?

    why not start cutting so many and costs take a look at it from this point of view when so many want to have governments/boards etc… downsized!

    use your head to do without, you saved $$ I’m sure you can think to do this task.

  9. Up until recently there was an Open Meetings Act problem if you didn’t have at least 7 people on a board.

    Two people could not talk with one another.

    Now an exception has been created to that so if you have a five person board two people can have a conversation about board business, which you need be able to do for certain things.

    Some boards also have a statutory minimum number of members so some legislation might be necessary.

    The boards are all non paid volunteer affairs with the exception of the Zoning Board and Tax Appeals Board so we are not paying more for more members except maybe a bit for additional copies of things.

  10. Re: “The boards are all non paid volunteer affairs with the exception of the Zoning Board and Tax Appeals Board so we are not paying more for more members except maybe a bit for additional copies of things.”

    How many of these ‘Boards’ have zero involvement of Public Sector employees?

    Do the Public sector employees not get paid for their attendance at the meetings?

    Does the recent Task Force being formed to STUDY why people are leaving McHenry County not have the involvement of ANY Public Sector employees?

    The statement was made that the formation of said task force will have zero impact on taxpayer funded activity.

    Do most of these boards not use public funded facilities to conduct their meetings?

    I remember the security guards at the County Building spent a lot of time keeping the building open during the lengthy process of developing the 2030 plan which involved non-paid volunteers who were fed by someone prior / during the meetings.

    The bottom line is that all of these Boards do involve an expense to the taxpayers.

  11. If over $25 million of surplus cash is in a checking account, is it insured (above FDIC limits)?

    What possible scenario could require fast access to over $25 million?

    If new buildings were planned, that would be a long term process.

    If maintenance is needed, even that would require months of reviewing bids and obtaing approvals, and what possible maintenance would run in the millions?

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