Part- Versus Full-Time Issue in GOP Grafton Township Assessor Contest

In Grafton Township, there is a re-match between incumbent Al Zielinski and Teresa de Blatz.

One of the issues is whether the job is full-time or part-time.

Both candidates answered a question about the subject in their McHenry County League of Women Voters’ survey:

Grafton is the third largest township in McHenry County. Do you see the Assessor position as full time? How many staff members, other than the assessor, do you feel are necessary to perform the duties of the office?

Terra de Baltz

The most common work setup in surrounding assessment offices is full-time with regular business hours.

The Grafton Township assessor’s office currently adheres to this model and I have no intentions of deviating from this practice.

It is essential staff be accessible to taxpayers to accommodate questions and concerns in addition to fulfilling their day-to-day duties to meet the demands of managing 22,000+ parcels.

While the current assessor salary and omitted benefit options were established with the intention of designating the assessor position as part time, I am confident that I can train a reasonable number of efficient employees to represent me and service the community to the same standards and quality of any other professional office.

Though I intend to be present as much as possible, I am confident that the implementation of select new processes and my high expectations of my staff to properly communicate with the taxpayers as well as myself, will allow the office to run smoothly full time even in my absence.

Even so, I will always be available for a taxpayer that needs to speak with me directly.

Alan Zielinski

Grafton’s size (parcel count and Equalized Assessed Value, EAV) deserves a full-time assessor.

Grafton ranks second in equalized assessed value ($1.8 billion) and third in parcel count (21,656).

My opponent currently makes $67,000/year with full benefits as a Deputy Assessor in Elgin Township.

My hope is she will be asked for firm confirmation that, should she be elected, she will leave her current position and accept $40,000/year and no benefits at Grafton Township.

It’s impossible for anyone to adequately serve Grafton’s taxpayers on a part-time basis.

My Deputies will attest to the extra hours I put in on nights and weekends in service to the township.

Prior to my taking office, the assessor’s office had a staff of seven comprised of CIAO-certified Deputies and clerical help.

When I took office, we had five CIAO-certified Deputies and no clerical assistance.

The parcel count and EAV then was much smaller.

Currently, we have two CIAO-certified Deputies who will be leaving in 2022 to run their own townships.

We have one database clerk who maintains our monumental database (almost two terabytes of data).

At the January, 2021 township meeting, the township Board expressed displeasure with the database clerk indicating it was an unnecessary position in spite of me stressing it frees the CIAO-certified Deputies to focus on valuation issues versus data entry and maintenance duties.

Per the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/2-20), the Board sets the assessor’s budget.

Since I took office, the salary premise has been pay for performance not time in seat.

That motivated the Deputies to attain their advanced CIAO designations (the second highest available) benefitting Grafton Township property owners in the process.

The compensation system used since 2014 hasn’t changed and is based on the sound foundation explained above as well as offering market-competitive wages.

If the Board plans to repeat history by removing the IPAI CIAO training for new employees from next year’s budget, it will severely cripple the office regardless of who is the Assessor.


Part- Versus Full-Time Issue in GOP Grafton Township Assessor Contest — 10 Comments

  1. As usual, Al is full of it. He says he’d commit to full time at Grafton, but has BARELY BEEN AT GRAFTON PART TIME. This is the full definition of hypocrisy.

    Shall we review?

    Al took a full time County Assessor job at Boone, but didn’t quit the Grafton job, despite promises that he would. He eventually “resigned” from that Grafton job, but kept interviewing for other county jobs.

    And he has umpteen side businesses, such as assessmentbusters dot com, fastappraisals dot com, rentacoo dot com. He also partakes in a fingerprint business and does concealed carry training. yet he’ll commit to Grafton full time?

    And he’s been doing appraisals in Grafton township. He did a bank appraisal for a Lakewood home, and valued it at $300k, which is curious, since he valued the same home at $487k as Grafton Assessor. Then when the homeowners appealed, they turned in Al’s appraisal as evidence. And what did Zielinski do? He tried to fight and discredit THE APPRAISAL HE WROTE.

    This is so dumb. How can he tout all these qualifications and certificates, yet do something so dumb?

    And let’s remember the lack of returned phone calls, lack of consistent office hours, that have continued during his tenure. What…he’s going to be good now? Yeah sure.

    And let’s also remember Al’s address got a nice $119k valuation drop on appeal in 2018. For a lakefront residence across from a golf course. His home went up just 3% in value from 2015 to 2019. And there’s Phil Stephan’s curious drop in value, the sales chasing, we could go on and on.

    Al was taken to task for most of this at last Monday’s meeting, (link below) since he hasn’t exactly done zoom meetings or open events with the public. And how did he respond to said criticism? By saying he was certified. That’s about it. Go away Al. We need actual competence.

  2. This can’t be a serious article right? Al was at Boone and Grafton at the same time? Was it not a full time position then? Al I have to see your reply, it will be extraordinary!

  3. That’s would be funny except it came out of the mouth of the Grafton Township hypocrite. He says it should be a full time position but it wasn’t long ago that he, willfully worked full time for Boone County while at the same time he worked for Grafton Township. I believe I remember him saying something to the effect that it wasn’t double dipping because it wasn’t against the law and he wasn’t collecting two benefit/pensions from two Townships. He worked for and drew two paychecks from two Townships at the same time until Boone was smart enough to get rid of him. You see, they don’t elect assessors in that County, they hire and fire and couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. We have to wait until tomorrow to fire his silly arce because we elect Assessors in Grafton. Al is working hard to keep and justify a job that he says is low pay compared to everybody else, and with NO benefits, can you say POWER. We all know that you don’t need to be full time to be in charge of this job, you just have to hire good people and LEAD them. “almost two terbytes of data” Al says the Township maintains, I say all he is going to get is a TERRA-BITE tomorrow after the results of the election come in. Dump the Chump, he won’t take a hint to resign and always blames the county for his problems. They won’t let me sales chase—-wahhhhhh They took away my benefits…wahhhh they won’t let me have a clerical person…wahhhh Look at this YouTube video of the last Grafton meeting where he was called out by a very knowledgeable resident.

  4. These township crooks are all the same.

    They never show their sorry hides at the township office unless it’s to collect more swag.

  5. Thank you for the video link.

    It’s posted in separate article, so it can be viewed more easily for blog readers.

  6. Clint Smith had a very appropriate quote regarding the “very knowledgeable resident” John Mueller (aka GTLH).

    “When someone repeatedly talks about another, we learn more about the speaker than we do the target.”

    Let’s review Mueller’s qualifications to throw stones.

    1. He has no training or experience in any form of real property valuation. We hear of “three other assessors” who supposedly have given him his wealth of valuation expertise but, like the Three Wise Men, we’re unsure who they are or if they truly exist.

    2. Regarding township accuracy & uniformity performance, he claims he was, is and always will be right. For that to be reality, the Illinois Department of Revenue (who administers those performance metrics) is wrong. For Mueller to be right, 35 ILCS 200/4-20 (which sets the standards) must also be wrong. Not the case.

    3. He claims I don’t invest adequate time but, as with his other slanders, doesn’t provide any evidence to support them. The Deputies, who know firsthand how many hours I invest in the township, would easily and accurately establish the facts but there’s that word with which Mueller is so unfamiliar: facts.

    4. Regarding double-dipping as he calls it, a few months cross-over during a planned transition even though I was in the office daily was outright despicable. Even though at that time there were four Deputies, one being a Certified General Appraiser, in the office. However, Mueller strongly supports a candidate who openly stated she won’t be in the office at all for four years when there will be zero Deputies. Hypocrisy is the appropriate word that comes to mind.

    5. Evenings and weekends provide the opportunity for my other ventures but perhaps a work ethic is another concept that’s foreign to Mueller.

    6. Over the past seven years, there’s been only a solitary, repeated voice: John Mueller. Continually repeating inaccuracies, falsehoods and misinformation doesn’t make them true. I’ll bet my rescue dogs this blog can expect another voluminous rebuttal from GTLH.

    7. The other recent, disparaging voice “Joe” (aka Ken Azarela) should share the results of his recent appeals as the poster child regarding the wild inaccuracy of our assessments. The problem is, he can’t because he lost on both claims.

    I’d continue to address and defuse the other inaccuracies but will stop at lucky seven because I’m content to let the level-headed, educated voters of Grafton Township decide their future.

    Option A: Alan Zielinski. Qualified, experienced, proven (by IDoR and Property Tax Code standards) and will actually set foot in the Grafton office.

    Option B: the alternative. Minimally qualified, inexperienced, will spend normal hours at Elgin Township and plans to let Grafton’s roughly 22,000 parcel owners rely on some “staff” who will magically appear on 1/3/2022.

  7. Mr. Zielinski, on top of disagreeing with all 7 of your lame points, I question why you didn’t make any of these comments during the Grafton Township mtg….in person and on camera??

    Why not then for the residents to see vs. now behind the keyboard (no camera)??

    Quite a cowardly move.

    As a Christian I am completely offended by your comments that “like the Three Wise Men, we’re unsure who they are or IF THEY TRULY EXISTED”.

    Their names were Caspar (a king of India), Melchior (a king of Persia) and Balthazar (a king of Arabia).

    If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you really should keep your mouth shut!

    I had serious questions before as to your ability and honesty as an accessor.

    Now, based on your anti-Christian comments, I’m convinced that you are an imbecile and would vote for Donald Duck over you.

    I hoping some of those other businesses work out for you because I’m betting your accessor AND appraiser days are over.

  8. Dearest Al,

    So great to see you melting down on a comment board at Midnight before an election. Because that’s the kind of professionalism we need with an assessor.

    Take deep breaths.

    First off, here are IDOR numbers showing Grafton’s actual performance, before they are equalized. When are you going to acknowledge that the numbers you tout are after they are equalized by the County? (P.S. I confirmed this with the county assessor. Because…facts.)

    and here is your own sales ratio spreadsheet showing the neighborhoods you created weren’t evenly assessed. You fought the release of this until the Public Access Counselor stated your improperly withheld it.
    Again…public records.

    Second, since you are so thoroughly educated and experienced, please explain this dumbassery committed by you…

    – You have been an agent or appraiser for your own address. Twice. (No, you’re not supposed to do that. )

    – You both assess properties and appraise on the side in Grafton Township. You’re not supposed to do that either. And in 2020, you appraised a house for a bank refi at $300k, yet assessed it at $487k. And when the homeowners appealed the property with your appraisal, you tried to have that same appraisal discredited and thrown out…despite the fact that YOU WROTE THE APPRAISAL. Also, if you thought you were kosher with this, why didn’t you disclose on the appraisal that YOU WERE ALSO THE LOCAL ASSESSOR? (by the way, here is a link to the January meeting where this is discussed.)

    – For Phil Stephan’s home…in 2018, your office fought an appeal of that residence, believing it should stay at its equalized value of $448k. And you won. Then in 2019, you dropped Stephan’s residence to $240k. That was a 46% drop and one of the largest in Grafton Township. Then in 2020, you declared an error, and raised it to just under $300k. But the County Assessor stepped in, and raised it to $435k…an action that emails show you disagreed with. But then Stephan appealed, asking that it be lowered back to $300k. But in an Assessor’s response, you stated the new County valuation of $435k should….NOT BE CHANGED and even gave comps from the old Turnberry neighborhood. So…you changed your valuation opinion on a house FOUR TIMES IN THREE YEARS. Please tell me what training materials show this is proper.

    – UP the lake from you is a house that is valued $57,000 more than your 1.4 acre lakefront plot. That’s despite being a ranch home 30% smaller than yours, on a plot half its size. Please tell us how that’s proper and equitable.

    P.S. For sale
    s chasing, on the court case you cited above, Residential Real Estate vs Illinois PTAB, you forgot to include one sentence: “However, the sale price of property does not necessarily establish its value without further information on the relationship of the buyer and seller AND OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES. “ And The court in Apex Motor Fuel further stated:

    “the rule of uniformity . . . prohibits the taxation of one kind of property within the taxing district at one value while the same kind of property in the same district for taxation purposes is valued at either a grossly less value or a grossly higher value.”

    You assessed two ranch homes that were next to each other with a $93k difference due to sales chasing. I’d call that a grossly higher value. But if your approach is so proper, why did the sales chased home win the appeal?

    By the way, the County Assessor and the Board of Review knows you’re sales chasing. And they’re certified. And other Illinois County and Township assessors clearly state on their websites how they will not sales chase.

    So I guess they are unqualified too.

    Stop lyin’ to the public, dude.

  9. Al said, “I’m content to let the level-headed, educated voters of Grafton Township decide their future.”

    Damn right. Zielinski got just 10% of the vote tonight.

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