County Board Republicans Hand Dems Election Issue

In 2006 McHenry County Democrats took up the expensive relocation of the McHenry County Animal Shelter to Crystal Lake as a county board issue.

It is safe to predict that one 2008 issue will be incompetent management of Valley Hi, the county nursing home. Of course, the animal shelter may come back as a sequel.

Somehow looking at articles on the internet does not have the same impact as seeing them in the Northwest Herald. Placement and size on the printed page can make a big difference.

I know that reading Reagan Foster’s words,

”The audit stated that there was no sign that funding had been managed in any way, nor were there any indications that managers working to change the increasing reliance on taxpayer support,”

gave me a sense of the enormity of the management failure by the McHenry County Board.

Instead of tossing old NW Herald’s my in-laws save them for me. So, last Sunday, I looked through a pile.

The NW Herald put its

article on its front page last Friday.

You can expect to see that front page of July 27th edition of the NW Herald in Democratic Party literature next year, if county Democrats have good designers.

And, how incompetent was county management?

Not knowing the county was spending almost $184 a day caring for patients, while taking in about $131, shows about as few management controls as one could imagine.

To get an idea how significant blowing through $2 million can be, take a look at the Chicago Tribune’s main article last Sunday. It and others were on Governor Rod Blagojevich’s $2.6 million commitment to purchase flu vaccines which were never used.

That rated the front page on Sunday’s Tribune and all of the editorial page of the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday.

State government has over a $50 billion budget. So, $2 million is a very small proportion of the total. Yet it is important because Blagojevich was in his “Let’s create a national image, so I can run for President” mode when he got the flu vaccine.

$2 million to McHenry County is real money. The total 2006 county budget was $180 million. Valley Hi’s share was about $12.5 million. $2 million is 16% of 12.5 million, a bit over 1% of the total county budget.

Just as the governor was trying to get publicity with his vaccine ploy, the county board was in the process of completing a new county nursing home.

Big opportunity for brownie points, wouldn’t you agree?

Blown by mismanagement.

Two NW Herald articles, plus an editorial, to drive home the point:

July 26th – Valley Hi audit says home $2 million in red in ’06

July 27th – Valley Hi ran in red in ’06

July 28th – Valley Hi’s budget woes

The Valley Hi Administrator did resign, but I’m thinking the Democrats may be looking for some county board member scalps.

Members of the Valley Hi Committee, according to the McHenry County web site, are

Chairman: Mary Lou Zierer
Vice Chair: Ed Dvorak
Members: James Heisler, James P. Kennedy, Mary McCann, Pete Merkel, Dan Shea

= = = = =

I wrote last year of Valley Hi Administrator Howard Nehlig’s having told me a story when I was McHenry County Treasurer in the late 1960’s about the pigs raised at the old county poor farm not having hams. He told me the story three times and I still didn’t get his point. He finally had to tell me that the hams went home in the county board committee members’ trunks.

In the same article, I wrote of a farmer who told me at the County Fair in 2000 of how a long ago poor farm committee chairman tried to shake down a farmer who lived, what was it, 8 miles west of Woodstock on Kishwaukee Valley Road. The farmer was hired to dig a well and did so. Afterwards, the county board member showed up, asking, “Where’s my cut?”

The farmer told him he had worked hard and he wasn’t going to pay him anything.

The county board member told the farmer that he would make sure he never got another county contract. The crooked county board member delivered on his pledge.

Maybe McHenry County taxpayers would be better off with the petty corruption of years past than the massive mismanagement of today.

My article on county home corruption also has a McHenry County syndicate section that might be of interest.

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