Grafton Township Board Battles Escalate with Hiring of $35,000 Administrator to Replace Township Supervisor Linda Moore

With a wish fulfillment that newly-elected Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore would go poof and disappear in the night in the Huntley Park District meeting room last night being unattainable, the other four members of the township board decided to do the next best thing.

Watercolor of $3.5 million Grafton Township Hall the majority of the township board tried to build without adequate notice to the taxapyers. Linda Moore was party to the suit that stopped expenditures before she became township supervisor, basing her campaign on opposition to the proposal.

To punish the person they blame for derailing their new $3.5 million township hall, they voted to hire a township administrator, a post unheard of in McHenry County, but apparently common in patronage-ridden Cook County Townships seeking ways to justify their existence.

The trustees’ minds were obviously made up before the meeting began.

As Trustee Gerry McMahon pointed out to Moore after LaPorta had taken the high road by vowing the township was going to “follow best practices,”

“There are going to be a lot of changes. Get used to it!”

At the annual Grafton Township meeting, Huntley Village Trustee Pam Fender was standing to the left of the trustees (in the photo, a bit to the right of the 20 MPH sign) voting with them to approve a new $3.5 million ($5 milion with interest) township hall. (Click to enlarge.)

The perfunctory discussion of the need for such an employee to effectively replace the township supervisor and the presence of the person being hired—political ally and Huntley Village Trustee Pam Fender—in the audience is evidence of the choreographed nature of the meeting.

In the next to the back row, Huntley Village Trustee Pam Fender waited to be hired as Grafton Township Administrator, akin to a city manager, with her male supporters beside and behind her.

The cost of the action to taxpayers taken by the four Grafton Township Trustees will be in the $50,000 range once family health benefits are added to the $35,000 salary.

LaPorta pointed out that the compensation “was about half what other townships pay their administrators.”

Linda Moore’s reaction:

“It’s another waste of taxpayers’ dollars. No township of similar size or in McHenry County has seen a need to spend money for this purposed.”

Led by Rob LaPorta, he, Barb Murphy, Betty Zirk and Gerry McMahon voted as a bloc to hire the Fender, who told McHenry County Blog she is a decorator and contractor as well as village trustee.

When asked, she said she considered this a full-time job.

Asked whether she would run for township supervisor, a rumor about town, Fender replied, “I have no idea at all.”

Ancel Glick attorney Keri-LynKrafterfer offers explanation of other townships, none in McHenry County, that have hired adminstrators.

No job description was available and there was not evidence that anyone else had been considered for the position.

LaPorta turned to Ancel Glick attorney Keri-Lyn Krafterfer for help in explaining what a township administrator would do and other townships who had them.

“Counselor, explain what other townships do,”

LaPorta asked.

“They serve the equivalent function of a city manager,” Krafterfer replied. She then added that an administrator could

  • order the thank you plaque for the just-resigned Township Clerk Dina Frigo,
  • get bids for surety bonds for trustees whom the board majority wants to countersign all checks and issue them, if Moore refuses to do so within a specified time,
  • “do whatever,
  • recreation programs,
  • transportation services,
  • health,
  • youth,
  • day-to-day” management,
  • “assemble the board packets,
  • all the things that go into the day-to-day running of the township.”

When pressed for other townships that have administrators, Krafterfer cited

  • Palatine (112,740 population found here)
  • Orland (91,418)
  • Elk Grove (94,969)

“There’s dozens of others. It’s very common.”

Grafton Township had 45,427 people as of 2007.

After that brief description that most people would think contains the duties of a township supervisor, LaPorta said,

Dan Ziller, Sr., and Dan Ziller, Jr., leave Grafton Township meeting after the board selects Pam Fender to take over Supervisor Linda Moore's duties. Dan Ziller, Jr., was the lead plaintiff in the suit that stopped the building of the new township hall and required a referendum on the subject in November.

“I would like to nominate somebody this evening to provide the best services to the township… Pam Fender.”

She had “significant government and leadership background, has a proven history of getting things done for the community…in a timely fashion.”

Dan Ziller, Sr., and Jr., strong supporters of Moore began expressing their displeasure.

“If you can’t keep quiet, I’m going to ask you to leave,” LaPorta said.

After a few more words, the two walked out the door.

“We need to diminish your troublesome conduct,” McMahon next said to Moore. “You’re not doing a good job for the township. It’s as simple as that.”

Huntley Village Trustee Pam Fender makes presentation to the Grafton Township Board after Rob LaPorta made a motion to hire her for $35,000, plus health and other benefits, to become Township Administrator.

Fender then made a presentation including, “I would like to serve the whole of Grafton Township.”

Moore asked Fender,

“When the Village of Huntley hires someone do they hire a friend or the best qualified person?”

but received no satisfaction.

McMahon yet again aimed his ire at Moore by stating to 11-year resident Fender,

“We want you to be a good public relations person. You’re working for the board.”

Fender’s start date is Tuesday. Yet unsettled is where her office will be, but Trustee Zirk thought it ought to be near the front door in the same office as Moore.

Although no job description was available at the meeting, the attorney said,

“We’ll get a job description.”

Neither Barb Murphy nor Zirk had questions for Fender.

Gerry McMahon

Linda Moore

The hiring came after a another bill of particulars of things Moore had done wrong leading up to a second censure resolution.

Displeasure over the roll Moore played in killing the township hall was evident periodically throughout the meeting.

“We’d have our own building…”

Rob LaPorta, the leader of the four trustees whose goal is to freeze Linda Moore out of township affairs.

Gerry McMahon said at the end of the meeting before being interrupted by Rob LaPorta, who said,

“Gerry don’t go there,”

as a lease requested by the Huntley Park District was discussed before being assigned to Fender for investigation.

Earlier McMahon strayed from the script by saying,

“We could have had our own building and been in it by now,”

adding, “That’s satire,” after Moore explained that the park district had expressed displeasure with the township board’s late meetings.  (This one ended after 11.)

The meeting was calmer than the one Moore posted, first on the township web site, then on her own after outraged township trustees order them removed.

I only watched the first part of the meeting, but it must have been a doozy because when Loretta Wuich complained about the way she was treated, LaPorta offered an apology for not acting the way he does in other circumstances.

All the officials are Republican.


Comments

Grafton Township Board Battles Escalate with Hiring of $35,000 Administrator to Replace Township Supervisor Linda Moore — 35 Comments

  1. Who’s the guy in the brown shirt in the Pam Fender photo giving the one finger salute?

  2. I wondered the same thing.

    So, does this mean that the Grafton Township has a Supervisor AND now a $50,000 Township Administrator, and then they hired a Village Trustee as the Administrator??? How do you replace an elected official with a hired gun?

    Too bad that Bob Anderson lives so far from Huntley!

  3. Grafton is the poster child for dissolution of the township governmental bodies. I continue to insist that these duties could be better folded into county duties. Although I would hate to see Ken Koehler get his grubby greedy hands on more of anything. Get rid of the township and then I wonder who La Porta and McMahon would go around bullying.

  4. In response to Paul: Koehler already has his hands on the money. Taxes are collected by the townships given to the county and the county gives it back to the townships as they see fit. Yes this is another reason we need to either get rid of the townships or cut back their areas of influence to just what would be best served for their local areas like aid to the needy. We should start with the highway departments with the 17 high paid highway commissioners and their employees that are either family members or family members of their supporters.

  5. Grafton Township is in shambles. It funny to see how one sided people can be depending on who side they support. There are issues on both sides and one thing needs to get done and that is the job of the people of Grafton Township and that is not happening today.

    It’s almost been a year since Mrs Moore has taken office and nothing has been accomplished other than pissing money out the window on legal fees and additional meetings and God knows what else.

    Here is my take of the meeting on 2/11/2010

    – Why does it take 45 minutes to approve minutes?
    – Why can’t the supervisor review the minutes before they are presented to the board?
    -Why are so many people taking a video of the meetings?
    -As an elected official you need to have a poker face.
    -When the board or the supervisor is asked to do something from one another it needs to get done. It’s not the case here.
    -Be honest.
    -Let’s all play nice together.

    I hope with the appointment of administrator that things will get done. I don’t know much about the appointee but if nothing else a fresh face is often a good thing. It sure can’t get much worse.

  6. Yes Indeed, time to call in Bob Anderson . . . this is what it is all about. Little Government trying to become Big Government.

    I think Bob should look into this and let us know what we can do to help Linda out.

  7. I doubt the trustees want a big government, just one one that works!

    Cal I’m shocked at you that you don’t have a better view of this being an ex-politician. Linda is clueless on how to run a meeting. Don’t you see that? She also fails to come prepared to the meetings, and makes excuses and acts like a kid when she doesn’t get her way or is called out on her lack of preparedness. The last time I saw a board meeting that was run this poorly was student counsel in high school. Yet we acted better back then.

    Cal you make no mention of the issue with the bills that Linda has been asked to clarify for three meetings. There is also no mention of the unofficial Grafton Township website and board meeting videos that she posted without approval of entire board. Nor how she is also illegally took copyrighted material and posted on what I think is a third website.

    I don’t think that the trustees are a bunch of angels either but you’re always pointing the blame finger at them. You need to be more objective in your reporting.

  8. Hey Guys, I have lived in Grafton most of my life. I am currently involved in 5 or 6 boards and understand the difficulty of managing Board dynamics. True, not much has been accomplished since the judge ruled, was challenged and was affirmed. Why have these issues not been resolved and returned to status quo? The current situation is surreal. The legal opinions are coming from another planet. Although they may be technically correct these opinions have only served to ensure the continuation of the legal time clock. Remember the firm’s only skin in the game is their next billed quarter hour. Mr. LaPorta appears to own the firm that is really there to protect us the Grafton Township tax payers. We should be enraged that the only product of our tax dollars seems to fund the production of the Grafton Place Soap Opera. I am now willing to support the dissolution of the Township.

  9. The change in the form of government and the lack of open recruitment of potential candidates for the position of manager in the space of moments is outrageous. LaPorta, you are just a trustee, so lay off the steroids. The rest of the board-lemmings. I think you will hear from eastern Grafton Township at the next town meeting. You understand that most of us over here didn’t really pay too much attention to what you folks are up to. That will change. That has changed. Every other township in this county probably wishes Grafton would just go away. I am not speaking for LITH as I know they don’t want that land back….

  10. Your choice for manager must carry with it a resignation of that individual’s seat as trustee for the village. If you can not see the conflict there than we are truly up the creek without the paddle. You trustees of Grafton Township must be drinking tainted kool aid. You tried to back door us on the building, lost, and now you are racking up the legal bills to satisfy your egos. If you have to issue TAW’s to pay for this travesty, I plan to explore legal actions of my own. What a dispicable waste of tax payer funds and pointless risk to a form of government that used to work.

  11. One other thing, as a taxpayer in the township I am afraid that funds have been released to a 501c3 (private) organization without a formal resolution by the board. I think that may be a misappropriation of township funds. Mr. Bianchi, I know you follow this blog. Please help me to understand that this is not the case

  12. I doubt the trustees want a big government, just one one that works!

    Cal I’m shocked at you that you don’t have a better view of this being an ex-politician. Linda is clueless on how to run a meeting. Don’t you see that? She also fails to come prepared to the meetings, and makes excuses and acts like a kid when she doesn’t get her way or is called out on her lack of preparedness. The last time I saw a board meeting that was run this poorly was student counsel in high school. Yet we acted better back then.

    Cal you make no mention of the issue with the bills that Linda has been asked to clarify for three meetings. There is also no mention of the unofficial Grafton Township website and board meeting videos that she posted without approval of entire board. Nor how she is also illegally took copyrighted material and posted on what I think is a third website.

    I don’t think that the trustees are a bunch of angels either but you’re always pointing the blame finger at them. You need to be more objective in your reporting.

  13. Let Grafton Township be the example of questionable government . . . It is time to make the case of abolishing township government. Bob where are you?

  14. If Jeff Dunham needs more puppets the grafton township trustees would sure fit the bill. They just made a $35,000 payment on their one and only goal. Build a $5,000,000 memorial Do they care if taxpayer money is wasted? Not at all. Look back at what the trustee from suncity said last year. He doesn’t care he won’t be here. Does he mean he is moving or just not running again. The other members do not want change even if it benefits the taxpayers. They want their memorial building no matter what.

  15. Otto, Why are you repeating yourself after my comments and not addressing any one of them? Also tell us who you are. Most of us on this site are unafraid to own up…..

  16. Does it not concern you that not only has our form of government been changed in an instant, but also the job filled without any request for application? Hey! I represent a city that overlaps Grafton too. I have over 10 years of experience in that regard. I have been involved in the financial sector of McHenry County for over 25 years and have lived in Grafton all my life. I hold an MBA in Finance. If she is eligable, though she is a Trustee of the Village of Huntley, then so am I, though I am a councilman of the City of Crystal Lake. However I was never availed the opportunity to apply nor were any other eligable candidates. This can not stand. I don’t want the stupid job I just want it to go away

  17. Is my frustration , Irritation. and pisstation coming through to you folks???

  18. Lou I think it is time not only to look into what Jeff has asked for an investigation into but, also the true qualifications of each township’s employees and appointees for the jobs they hold. Bet you find out that they are relatives of board members or other government office holders and that is their only qualification for the job.

    We talk about how Chicago is nothing but graft and our townships make Chicago look like a child when it comes to the graft and favoritism that the townships pull on the tax payers. I grew up in Chicago, lived in McHenry county for the past 13 yrs and only been involved in the local politics for the past 4 yrs and I can see that the Republicans use the townships to take care of their own by giving family members and supporters jobs that they are not qualified for. Along with giving contracts to companies whose owners and leaders donate to Republican candidates. And we wonder why Ken refuses to fill out the ALAW form?

    We won’t see Lou investigate any of these claims because he would have to show that he is part of the pay to play group. He will be just like Keith when he says he can not investigate illegals in our county because he has no jurisdiction. Three peas from the same pod, (Ken, Keith, & Lou), getting great big campaign donations from government suppliers.

    It is time that all 3 parties, (Dem’s, Rep’s, & Green), get together and show our local officials that it is time to stop sending our tax $ on their friends & families and start spending it wisely by voting them out of office in Nov. and putting new blood that cares about the tax payers into office. The current officials are not living up to their oaths of office since they ARE NOT representing the wishes of those that put them in office in the 1st place.

  19. Wow! Talk about a turn of events there in Grafton Township! I can hardly wait to see what the next Annual Meeting will be like come April 13th (or is it the 20th this year?). I wonder if it will be held in the high school, given the numbers who showed up last year, as well as who might show up this year, especially in light of the administrator’s hiring.

    I will point out that the position of “township administrator”, as well as other positions like “deputy clerk”, “assistant supervisor” and “office manager” are in practice in townships at the population of, or even smaller, then Grafton. Maybe not in McHenry County, but in other townships in other counties (and not just Cook County), these positions exist.

    One example from Kane County is Campton Township, which is in central Kane County, just west of the city of St. Charles. In Campton, the administrator is described on their webpage through this address: http://www.camptontownship.com/main/supervisor_staff.htm

    That said, clearly, the hiring of the administrator by the trustees without Supervisor Moore’s support, as blatantly political, especially with the immediate hiring (without interviews, to my knowledge) of Huntley Village Trustee Pam Fender. From the trustees’ point of view, there is a need for day-to-day operations of the supervisor’s office, to the point the trustees are willing to spend ~$50,000 for an administrator.

    Hopefully, the Campton Township model is one Administrator Fender will at least research, given the huge changes Campton Township has experienced over the past 6 years, including the passage of their own Township Open Space District, including funding, and the growing encroachment of fast-growing municipalities like the cities of Elgin and St. Charles, and the establishment of a new municipality like Campton Hills.

    Hopefully, Ms. Fender is doing this new role purely from a good-government approach, and if so, she would do well to study the Campton Township model, and similar township models in her new position. I do not know the salary of the Campton Township administrator, but the supervisor’s salary in Campton was frozen at the 2005-2009 salary through 2013, at around $33,000 per year.

    Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.

  20. The Trustees and the Supervisor are elected to do the People’s work. They are public servants. This is not all of THEIR money. It is the Taxpayers’ money – only a small part of it comes from the elected officials taxes/wallets.

    So, what’s with the “We could have had our own building and been in it by now,” idea?

    Are these “Building Government Bigger Folks”?

    Are these “Building a Political Palace People”?

    This isn’t the world of the past. There are many places to play Bingo and have other social activities. There are many food pantries. There are actually people who don’t live in Huntley in this Township!

    Instead of a $3.5 M dollar plus interest = $5 M plus any “extras” Building
    – use what is already here and team up with other entities. We don’t need a big township building with a room/hall to rent to or give access to any Political Party. We don’t need a Political King ala Chicago and we don’t need patronage hirings, or those who can volunteer or get a small salary – so that they eventually become soldiers/donors/feet-on-the-street at election time.

    No entity should attempt to be all things to all people. Duplication of efforts isn’t needed either. And, if it’s so important to have one’s “name” on things……..

    Methinks some folks got greedy! Instead of just looking for a small place to rent/buy/or to be built, the BIG building had to be the “I want it and I want it NOW!” plan.

    People have been questioning how this process (relatively quietly) steamrolled forward and a judge made an interesting ruling that some
    people aren’t happy with probably because they STILL “want it and want it now”. There are a lot of things that people want, fortunately, some take a deep breath and think about needs and the fact they are on a fast track trying to use other people’s money!

    I don’t care if it’s a dollar a day or $7 a year. The process, per many was flawed. Some believe it was incredibly insulting.

    “Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough.” (attributed to Janwillem van de Wetering)

    While some may have been well-intentioned in the beginning, I smell a lot of ego now and the refusal to deal with certain realities.

    The future of Township Government is questionable at best. The Taxpayers are tired of layer upon layer of Government.

    The issue on the surface now is that the elected folks won’t play nice together and that there are personality conflicts. However, under this Mask is The Building, The Building, The Building…. The Building that shouldn’t have been on the drawing board in the first place, The Building that …well, I’m sure everyone gets the drift.

  21. I get your drift For Dee, but is not just the building. You hit it on the head “smell”ing the ego. This is bigger and more important than the people of Grafton Township. It is all about the Ego of the Trustees. They should all resign if they care about township government, but they won’t. Their world is more important than preserving a form of government that used to work well in its own QUIET way… C’mon folks, the job is a 10 hour work week in the normal condition. Why do we need to hire political redundency? Oh yeah, I forgot, LaPorta. I forgot….EGO.

  22. “Baldy” Mc Mahon could not “bully” anyone, Paul Greenlee. Whining is more his style. Picks up the Scissors….”I have this tax bill…and the building is”..cuts a sliver of the tax bill…”this much more we are asking for” Hey Baldy, The BOT never asked they just did. For Dee, You are right it is about the building but now it has morphed into the soap opera/train wreck we are having to witness AND PAY FOR today.

  23. As I have stated before, find which of the trustees and their friends stand to gain from building the memorial and you will know who is causing all the problems.

  24. Please! Get off the topic about the building. Taxpayers will have their say on November 2nd, and may the votes go whichever they may.

    Focus on the here and now, and that is a dysfunctional township board, with a very dysfunctional township supervisor who, if you watch the meeting video from January 14th, appears to me to not know what she’s doing.

    P.S. Why is my other comment not being posted?

  25. Ms. Fender has already made a few statements regarding this mess unbecoming her new found position. She should reign herself in. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this whole thing begins and ends with THE BUILDING! We would not be having this discussion had that deal not been made. We know why you don’t want to talk about the building, Storm….

  26. Who owns the property where the building was to be built . . . ??

  27. Proffit Skinner and the “Coin station cult” seem very scary!!! The irrational fear of government is troubling.

    There is no space ship hiding behind jupiter and it’s not landing on the lot for the new building. lol

    “Don’t drink the Kool aid”

  28. “irrational fear of government”…I don’t know about the rest of you but that is a scary phrase. The rational stance is that those in government should be afraid of the people. We own it. The government needs to represent us, not the players of the week.

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