MCC – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back – Part 2

Yesterday, McHenry County Blog started a little dance about which all of us are familiar.

It’s the one step forward, two steps back.

It’s an attempt to make the public think there is progress.

This was a transparency dance.

I was reminded of the dress with wings that Queen Elizabeth wore in the recent motion picture about her. My son thought she looked like an angel.

A public body will do something good, then, as in the case of McHenry County College, immediately take action in the opposite direction.

Today we continue with our story with the first step backwards.

Later in last Thursday’s meeting, Trustee Scott Summers pressed for a decision to be made on appealing denials to the whole board at Thursday’s meeting.

Sometime after the discussion following my handing over my FOI denial appeal, the board decided to take a vote on his idea for an “informal appeals mechanism” from presidential FOI denials.

“We sometimes run them by our attorneys,” Trustee Carol Larson pointed out.

“We always run them by them,” Walt Packard corrected.

“We are the policy people,” Summers interjected.

“I think it’s incumbent for us…to permit the public to have…a safety valve.”

“They are acting in accordance with the law,” Barbara Walters stated.

“You’re not allowing the president to run the college.”

And then came this affirmation:

“I will never, never second guess
the president
of this college.”

There may even have been an exclamation mark.

Needless to say, Walters announced she was “not in favor of any changes.”

Following Walters’ lead was board member Mary Miller:

“My comment would be it isn’t necessary.”

Frances Glosson disagreed:

“I think it enhances our transparency.”

“We don’t take any responsibility for the community,” Donna Kurtz observed, supporting Summer’s move.

That and more that Kurtz said prompted Walters to weigh in again:

”With regard to openness…(this board) has been very open in our executive session meetings.”

She intimated that documents circulated in such meetings had been revealed to outsiders.

I would note that there would be nothing illegal in doing so, as the Crystal Lake Park Board’s attorneys agreed during the suit by censured board member Leona Nelson several years ago.

“We have a real problem with ethics with some members of this board,” Walters continued. “Here, take a look at this…you might want to file a Freedom of Information request on this.”

At some point Lowe weighed in with the opposition.

The motion failed with only Summers, Kurtz and Glosson voting in favor. Walters, Lowe, Larsen, Miller and student trustee Katie Claypool voted to continue President Packard’s carte blanch power to deny Freedom of Information requests.

Tomorrow: “MCC – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back – Part 3”

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