Illinois Leaks’ Kirk Allen has written articles blasting Algonquin Township Clerk and Freedom of Information Officer Karen Lukasik.
Here’s one from today published with permission:
Algonquin Township Clerk -“It’s not my responsibility”
It is becoming clear the Algonquin Township Clerk, Karen Lukasik, is either obstructing the operations of the Township or at a minimum completely ignorant of what her obligations are.
As it relates to the position claiming she has to be present in order for a meeting to be held, four days prior to my article she was advised by legal counsel on that matter and we were correct in our assertion.
“You do not have the right to impede the scheduling of a public hearing based upon your belief that you should be present” – James P. Kelly, Algonquin Township Attorney
Of additional interest, email communications we have obtained reflect her position on November 22, 2017, as it relates to her appointing a Deputy Clerk.
“I am not appointing a deputy clerk at this time.”
I wonder what happened between November 22nd, 2017, when she said she is not appointing a deputy clerk at this time and November 25th, 2017, where she changed positions on the subject as part of her excuse for FOIA compliance?
“I plan on appointing a deputy clerk and hiring someone ASAP to be able to get caught up.”
Reading the email below it appears she said she would do one thing then turned around and created excuses for not doing it.
“Further, you stated on November 20 you stated that you would have the notice published.
“It is now too late to have the notice of public hearing timely published for the budget hearing.
“The failure to timely schedule this public hearing will effectively impede the ability of the Township and Road District to meet its obligations and impede its operations.” -James P. Kelly, Algonquin Township Attorney
The Clerk took the position that it is not her job to publish the budget hearing notice.
“I have not posted this to the paper it is not my responsibility”
The Township attorney informed her it is her inherent duty to publish the budget hearing notice.
We contend it is not an inherent duty but a mandated duty based on language found in both the Township code and the Illinois Municipal Budget Act.
From the Township Code
“It is the duty of the township clerk to arrange for the public hearing.”
When you read that duty in the law, you have to be smart enough to determine what it takes to have a public hearing because you have to arrange it. It would appear either the Clerk has not read the law on her duties or simply is not capable of comprehending what arrange for the public hearing means.
From the Illinois Municipal Budget Act:
“It shall be the duty of the clerk, secretary, or other similar officer, of such municipality to make such tentative budget and appropriation ordinance available to public inspection, and to arrange for such public hearing or hearings.” 50 ILCS 330/3
The Illinois Municipal Budget Act points to the Clerk, Secretary, or other similar officer, which indicates under that law it is her duty as well as the duty of the secretary or other similar officer.
Based on the email chain, she has taken the position it’s not her job. We believe she is absolutely wrong on that assertion, much like her assertion no meeting could be held without her present.
Additionally, the email communications appear to point to a little kingdom feud going on.
Karen Lukasik: “I do not have anyone overseeing me”
Although it was clear in the email she was expressing her opinion as it relates to the staff, as in she is over them and they don’t tell her what to do. She even points out specifically one person, “especially not Ryan Provenzano”.
Although we agree employees of the Township do not oversee her, she would do well to understand the people do in fact oversee her as she answers to them. Considering her online statements of; “Let me do the job the public elected me to do and stop these silly immature political games all at the expense of the taxpayers.”, we contend she must first learn what her job is.
If she is unable to read the law and apply it to her obligations it may be high time for her to accept the fact she took a position before realizing all that was involved and she is in over her head.
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The next Algonquin Township Board Meeting is on the calendar for Wednesday, December 13th.