After being chided in a comment under her article about Paula Yensen’s having used the term “slush fund” to describe the Automation Fund in Joe Tirio’s Recorder’s Office, former County Board member Ersel Schuster wrote the following:
My Mom and Dad Always Cautioned To: “Look Before You Leap.”
This advice stands the test of time.
Comments to my recent article, posted on this blog (9/16/18), caused me to again listen to the McHenry County Board audio of 9/13/18 Committee of the Whole (COW).
Originally, on 9/13/18 while listening, and taking notes, the webcast went dead. Just before the webcast went down, at approximately 1:36, the notes indicated the term “slush” fund.
Upon reflection, should I have held off on submitting the article?
Per the “9/15/18” reboot of the 9/13/18 meeting webcast, Member Yensen is speaking.
While it is a long statement, the following excerpt is the interesting part of that discussion:
“…it is a concern where the surplus grew from $2 to $2.5 million. I had no idea!
[Line 75 of the McHenry County Treasurer’s Report shows how much is in the Automation Fund. I found a link in the web page sent to all County Board members and available to the public. Yensen has been on the County Board a long time and by now should be familiar with what is in the Treasurer’s Report.]
“And never once did you disclose this surplus to the county board that I can remember.”
“And, your monthly reports never showed these surpluses. Now um… while I need to look at your new resolution I do have more concerns. I think that one would have to know that it existed to know to look for it. It was buried in the treasurer’s report and never once was it disclosed in the Recorder’s report.”
“You grew the secret surplus, and I consider it secret, because it was not disclosed, it was not transparent.”
After accusing Recorder Tirio of harboring a “secret” fund of tax payer dollars… she attempts to redeem herself by stating:
“No one says that what you are doing is illegal…
“I’m not saying you’re doing anything illegal… but it is wrong, and it is bad public policy and it is why people don’t trust government.”
The word used in the 9/15/18 audio clearly states “SECRET” surplus.
While the notes on 9/13/18 reflect otherwise, I will go with “secret” as the term used.
I could very well have made a mistake.
If so, that I apologize for.
However… and frankly, accusing a public official of keeping a “secret” fund is more offensive than accusing one of keeping a “slush” fund.
What is bad public policy is for public officials to make calculated and outrageous statements while grandstanding for political purposes.
It is completely uncalled for and we deserve better than this.
These simple questions could/should have been asked before the meeting.
It is especially offensive when it is your job to know these things.
In holding the public’s purse-strings; understanding, questioning and passing judgement on these vary budgets is a county board members’ most important duty.
To state that… “I had no idea! And never once did you disclose this surplus to the county board that I can remember.” … is the ultimate slap in the face to the public that put you into office.
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One wonders if the attack by Chairman Jack Franks and Board member Paula Yensen, both Democrats, would have occurred had Tirio not been running for County Clerk.