McHenry County Division of Transportation Maintenance Superintendent Mark DeVries receiving the American Public Works Association 2012 Presidential Leadership Award from APWA Past President Diane Linderman. The Presidential Leadership Award is presented at the discretion of the APWA President to someone who has distinguished himself or herself in the public works profession.
McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler offers the following on an award given to McHenry County Transportation Department Maintenance Superintendent Mark DeVries:
“I am pleased to announce that the McHenry County Division of Transportation (MCDOT) Maintenance Superintendent Mark DeVries was recently awarded the American Public Works Association (APWA) Presidential Leadership Award for 2012!
“The Presidential Leadership Award is an extraordinary commemoration.
“It is awarded at the discretion of the APWA President to someone who has distinguished himself or herself in the public works profession.
“Past recipients of this prestigious award include former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.
“Mark received the award at the APWA Congress and Expo this August in Anaheim, CA which is an annual gathering of APWA members from across the world.
“APWA is the largest international organization of its kind with over 28,000 members and serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy, and exchange of knowledge.
“The Presidential Leadership Award is the highest award APWA bestows upon an individual.
“Mark is being recognized as he has been an exemplary professional in snow and ice, and winter maintenance and safety.
“His efforts in the public works profession are felt not only here locally in McHenry County but throughout Illinois, the entire United States, and internationally.
“His passion, enthusiasm and willingness to share his expertise with others in the profession are unparalleled in his field.
“Mark has worked for the McHenry County Division of Transportation since 1984 and has been Maintenance Superintendent since 2001.
“He chairs APWA’s Winter Maintenance Subcommittee and the Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award Committee.
“He has shared his experiences with local agencies as well at local seminars and expos.
“Mark also assists the Illinois Local Technology Transfer Program and teaches flagging safety and snow and ice removal for new operators for many local agencies in northern Illinois.
“In 2010, Mark was also recognized as one of APWA’s Top Ten Public Leader of the Year.”
Sheriff Keith Nygren and former Sheriff Art Tyrell flank Undersheriff Andy Zinke in this photo apparently taken in Nygren’s Office. Photo credit: McHenry County Sheriff’s Department.
As a former Federal employee (Budget Examiner) for the United States Bureau of the Budget, I know a little bit about the Hatch Act.
It was the statute that forced me to resign my Civil Service job in the Executive Office of the President before I announced at age 23 that I was running for the Republican Party nomination for McHenry County Treasurer.
The way I understood it then, those under the Hatch Act could not be active in partisan politics while one was under that statute’s jurisdiction.
Either I had a misunderstanding of the Act then or it has been loosened a lot since 1966, because those under the Act can now even run for Delegate to a National Political Convention, campaign actively, even give a speech at a political fund raiser.
The generalization stated on the web page is “most federal and D.C. government employees may take an active part in partisan political management and campaigns.”
On February 8, 2012, Andy Zinke attended a McHenry County meeting of the Political Action Committee called the McHenry County Business Committee. He and Tom McDermott listen to McHenry County Board member Scott Breeden.
But, there are a couple of prohibited activities. A person under the Hatch Act
may not use official authority or influence to interfere with an election;
may not solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before her agency;
may not engage in political activity while on duty, in a government office, while wearing an official uniform or while using a government vehicle;
may not solicit, accept or receive political contributions;
may not become a candidate in a partisan election.
To find out who might be under the Hatch Act today for non-Federal employees, I went to the web site of the Office of Special Counsel of the U.S. Justice Department and found a section on the Hatch Act.
I went to the section entitled, “About The Hatch Act State and Local Employees.”
Here’s how the section starts:
“The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state or local executive agencies and who work in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”
In this September 28, 2011, article in the Northwest Herald, Sheriff Keith Nygren said he not only was backing Andy Zinke, but might step down if he had health problems or some other unforeseen situation arise,
“The following list offers examples of the types of programs which frequently receive financial assistance from the federal government: public health, public welfare, housing, urban renewal and area redevelopment, employment security, labor and industry training, public works, conservation, agricultural, civil defense, transportation, anti-poverty, and law enforcement programs“[emphasis added].”
The final paragraph reads, “State and local employees subject to the Hatch Act continue to be covered while on annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, administrative leave or furlough.”
Take a look at what the first part of 5 US Code Section 1502 – Influencing elections; taking part in political campaigns; prohibitions; exceptions says:
(a) A State or local officer or employee may not—
use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office;
directly or indirectly coerce, attempt to coerce, command, or advise a State or local officer or employee to pay, lend, or contribute anything of value to a party, committee, organization, agency, or person for political purposes; or
be a candidate for elective office.
This is the Day Room of the ICE floor at the McHenry County Jail. In May the estimated revenue for this Fiscal Year was about $10 million.
Could it be possible that this part of Federal statutes applies to some folks in McHenry County?
County government, does, of course, get federal money both directly.
Think, for instance, the money from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that flows in large amounts to the County Jail for housing undocumented aliens, and indirectly through State government pass-throughs.
So, one might think that whoever has charge of the County Jail would be under the Hatch Act.
Ultimately, that would be Sheriff Keith Nygren himself.
So when the Hatch Act says a “local officer” under its jurisdiction
“may not use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office”
does that mean Sheriff Nygren can’t endorse his Undersheriff Andrew Zinke for Sheriff as he so publicly did in the Northwest Herald?
And does Zinke have control of the Jail where an entire floor is dedicated to housing ICE detainees?
From an April 28, 2012, YouTube, the summary of which you can see below, it appears that might be the case.
This Google search of Undersheriff “YouTube, Andrew Zinke” shows he recorded about the McHenry County Jail.
In the May 7, 2012, minutes of the County Board’s Law and Justice Committee, Zinke is listed along with Angela Wood-Zuzevich as representing the Sheriff’s Department.
The Sheriff’s Department also administers other Federal grant money, e.g., for child passenger seats, State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), and Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP).
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the County’s IT Department deserve a hefty “at-a-boy” for the web site update.
Sheriff Keith Nygren and Undersheriff Andrew Zinke are featured on the masthead of the opening web page.
For the first time, people can find who is incarcerated without making a phone call.
McHenry County Blog wrote about how behind the times McHenry County was in this respect in May of 2010.
Then, I found Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, and Winnebago Counties had internet inmate search functions.
I filed the following Freedom of Information request:
“Most of the large counties in Illinois have an Inmate Search function. Under the Freedom of Information Act, I request any documents that exist concerning McHenry County’s developing such a service to the public.”
Here’s the answer I got:
“The McHenry County Sheriff’s Corrections Division does not have any documents concerning the development of this service.”
With the exception of Federal prisoners and those considered juveniles, photos and charges for McHenry County Jail inmates can now be found over the internet.
On Thursday, they ranged from
Jose Aguilar, jailed for aggregated robbery, to
Matthew S. Zeis, behind bars for DUI/BAC and criminal damage to property.
Court dates and courtrooms are given.
Bond is given.
For some, the message, “SUBJECT MAY HAVE A HOLD FOR ANOTHER AGENCY,” appears.
I see that for Ramundo Vazquez, for instance.
It’s really a fountain of integrated information.
Information about those recently released is also on the web site.
Information about those on for whom ICE pays the county $85 a day is not similarly available.
All that exists is a link to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement web site.
It seems to me that one pretty much has to know what one is looking for to be able to find it.
Shift change time at the ICE floor of the McHenry County Jail.
The crown jewel in McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren’s crown is the top floor of the McHenry County Jail.
Constructed by a County Board that thought McHenry County’s criminal population would grow, it was not built out until Nygren came into office.
He cut a deal with Federal immigration authorities to house illegal immigrants there.
That floor has been a cash cow ever since.
Now word comes word via an article by Marc Wiley in Illinois Review that Crete, Illinois, officials are negotiating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for another place to put illegal aliens.
The $60 million facility would be privately financed, run by Corrections Corporation of America and would be on the tax rolls, village officials think.
Sounds like competition for McHenry County, maybe a way to drive ICE costs down.
A complaint has been made to the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Department of Homeland Security about mistreatment and abuse of sexual minorities by the Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center.
I have put the part where McHenry County is mentioned in a complaint filed with ICE in bold face type below. The detainee mentioned is one of thirteen used in this complaint.
It’s in the Long-Term Solitary Confinement portion of the document.
Long-Term Solitary Confinement
ICE detained a number of the complainants in restrictive segregation – ranging from solitary confinement to “lock down” in their cells for 22 hours per day. Complainants endured this treatment for extended periods – up to months at a time – without formal determinations of the necessity of segregation and without an appeals process. At least one court has found that a blanket policy of placing transgender immigration detainees in restrictive segregation, absent articulation of a specific need to do so, violates due process rights.7 Other practices and policies detailed in the complaints, such as restricting access to recreation and reading material, are blatantly punitive in nature and thus violate constitutional protections. As the following complaints highlight:
[Delfino] was held in segregation for four months, justifying their decision on the basis that [Delfino] presented “effeminately.” Facility staff refused to provide [Delfino] a Bible and permitted him only one hour of recreation – in a cold nine-by-thirteen-foot cell – per day. (Houston Processing Center, Texas)
[Raquel]’s freedom of movement was restricted and she was denied privileges such as reading material available to the general population. (McHenry County Jail, Illinois)
Sexual minorities were assigned to 22-hour lock down “protective custody”) without individualized analysis of the need for this restriction, and without affording detainees the opportunity to rebut this classification.
Individuals in “protective custody” had far less freedom of movement and access to recreation than individuals in the general population. Facility staff often restricted recreation time for sexual minorities to less than one hour a day. (Theo Lacy Facility, California)
ICE’s recent issuance of guidance (“Housing Directive”) on restrictive housing assignments8 does not sufficiently address detention facilities’ inability to provide safe, unsegregated and unrestrictive housing for a vulnerable detainee. The Housing Directive proposes transferring the individual to another facility; that does not address the issue.
Rather than shuffling detainees between inadequate detention centers, as happened for several of the individuals submitting complaints, ICE should acknowledge its inability to provide legally adequate detention conditions and prioritize alternatives to detention.
Under a heading entitled, “Discrimination and Abuse:”
[Raquel] suffered severe psychological abuse by, and with the acquiescence of,facility staff. After months of strain, [Raquel] had a mental breakdown at and wastransferred to the hospital ward of another detention facility. (Kenosha County
Detention Center and Kenosha County Jail, Wisconsin, and McHenry County