Judge Michael Caldwell Grants Linda Moore Day-to-Day Operating Authority of Grafton Township, Power to Hire and Fire Employees and Township Attorney – Part 1

Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore is flanked by her attorney John Nelson on the left and her husband on the right as she leaves the McHenry County Courthouse after a day in Judge Michael Caldwell’s courtroom.

In the Grafton Township separation of powers case filed by Township Supervisor Linda Moore against her Township Trustees, Moore largely won.

Judge Caldwell wrote,

“What was done here by this board to the supervisor was not a policy but rather a deliberate usurpation of the supervisor’s authority and a clear case of unnecessary meddling and illegal micromanaging.”

On the other hand, the power of the Township Trustees to set the agenda, meeting times and places, plus award contracts and set employee salaries was affirmed.

Linda Moore seems to be looking on in disapproval at something the Township Trustees are doing.

Labeling the relationships “dysfunctional,” Judge Michael Caldwell ordered Trustees Betty Zirk, Gerald McMahon, Rob LaPorta and Barbara Murphy not to

  • implement or attempt to implement the position of Township Administrator
  • employ or attempt to employ Pamela Fender in the position of Township Administrator or in any other capacity
  • Ancel Glink partner Keri-Lyn Krafthefer is out of her job as Grafton Township Attorney.

    employ or attempt to employ Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush Dicianni & Krafthefer as township attorneys

  • require that the Township Supervisor secure the advice and consent or approval of the township board before hiring any employee
  • require that the Township Supervisor secure the advice and consent or approval of the township board [before] the firing or discharge of any employee
  • require that the Township Supervisor secure the advice and consent or approval of the township board [before] the firing or discharge of the township attorney
  • interfere, hinder, obstruct “Moore in the exercise of her duties as Township Supervisor and Chief Executive Officer including, but not limited to, the day-to-day organization and operation of the township offices, access to township business records, data and information of any kind and the computers used for the storage and creation of same, the preparation of agendas for township board meetings, the calling of special meetings and the posting of notices therefore”

Grafton Township Trustees Gerry McMahon, Betty Zirk, Rob LaPorta and Barb Murphy have less power than they have asserted as a result of the court decision.

Moore was forbidden from

  • “removing, taking or transporting, secreting or concealing any township financial records, computer disc drives or computer-stored information by any means from the township offices
  • “hindering, obstructing or preventing or attempting to hinder, obstruct or prevent access” of the Township Trustees to “official records…including but not limited to, all financial information regarding the business and operations of the township
  • “failing to promptly present for consideration by the board of trustees”…”all bills, statement and invoices for goods and services rendered to the township.”

Huntley Village Trustee Pam Fender, who serves as Grafton Township Administrator, is out of the township job as a result of the Judge’s decision.

The Judge devotes most of his opinion to a summary of the facts and testimony, including the entire job description of Township Administrator Pam Fender, and relevant portions of the Township Code.

He points out that Moore “began her assault on the status quo in Grafton Township with a legal challenge to the township’s announced plans to issue bonds for the construction of at $3,00,000 town hall.’”

Caldwell notes Moore participation in the lawsuit to stop construction and her filing for office against incumbent Republican Supervisor John Rossi and her victory in both efforts. He notes that the Trustees spent $88,000 on attorney’s fees defending the new town hall. Half was spent in the case in which Judge Caldwell sided with Moore and her fellow plaintiffs and the other half was spent in the Trustees unsuccessful appeal.

“That is when the genesis of this lawsuit began,” he writes.

“Judging from the testimony elicited at the hearings before me, Moore’s term was marked by

  • controversy,
  • bitterness,
  • conflict and
  • outright hostility

from the very outset. She and the trustees battled over meeting notices, agendas, audits, access to public records and just about every facet of township government imaginable.”

He notes using Latin words I don’t understand even after two years of that language (sui generis rules) that the board stopped using Robert’s Rules of Order.

He points to the hiring of Pam Fender to be Township Administrator and installing her in Moore’s office.

Then, Moore filed her lawsuit and the trustees filed a counterclaim.

Reached for comment, Moore said,

“Until I hear from my attorney, it appears this ruling will enable me to do the job of Supervisor which is what the electors put me in office to do.”

Moore’s attorney is John Nelson.  Thomas DiCianni represented the Township Trustees.

More tomorrow. (See Part 2 here.  Read Judge Caldwell’s decision here.)


Comments

Judge Michael Caldwell Grants Linda Moore Day-to-Day Operating Authority of Grafton Township, Power to Hire and Fire Employees and Township Attorney – Part 1 — 26 Comments

  1. A lot of money was spent to affirm a common sense understanding of how things should be done.

    The trustees were trying to usurp the powers given to Moore upon her election.

    The trustees hiring Pam Fender without a job description or interviewing people for the job was right out of Crook County.

  2. Linda now take care of business, show them old people who is boss, get rid of all of them.

  3. How come there is no coverage of this decision in the Northwest Herald or Daily Herald?

    Cal, it looks like you have more staff on covering this than they do.

  4. There is no mention of this anywhere because I’m sure that Linda Moore emailed the decision directly to Cal, but overlooked informing any REAL newsource. Personally, I will wait to read what the document has to say before I rely on Cal’s EXTREMELY biased reporting on this issue.

    So when will Linda be returning the financial records and back-up hard drives that she removed from the township office and then erased from the township computers?

    How much has this fiasco that Moore pursued cost the township?

  5. This needs repeating –

    Judge Caldwell wrote,

    “What was done here by this board to the supervisor was not a policy but rather a deliberate usurpation of the supervisor’s authority and a clear case of unnecessary meddling and illegal micromanaging.”

  6. Thanks for repeating that Aileen. I didn’t understand it the first time.

    Linda Moore needs to take a psychiatric test. There is something mentally wrong with that woman. It is very obvious that her and her cohorts created an agenda to dismantle this township. I am happy to see that some of her friends have turned on her. They finally saw what that crazy woman is doing.

    IF this ruling terminates Pam Fender then our township has definately lost an ally. At the same time we get to keep an enemy. Great.

  7. For Jack Sprat’s information, I did not receive the court decision from Linda Moore.

  8. Where did you receive the information from? Evidently all parties of the lawsuit have not received any documentation of the decision, yet.

  9. Hey Cal, there is a lot of Grafton Township residents that want to know how and who you received the information from when the attorney’s don’t have it yet. Also why don’t you post all 35+ pages of the ruling instead of just your interpretation of a few paragraphs.

  10. It takes a lot of work to scan and prepare that many pages for posting, Lori. There are other responsibilities I have today.

  11. Cal, thank you for addressing Lori’s question about posting of the ruling. Would you be able to answer her first questions about how and who you received the information from?

    Thank you

  12. Bwa hahahahahaha!

    And Caddy, what if she wants to dismantle the township. That should be done in every township in this state. Our elected “leaders”, term used very loosely, won’t give us a say on that kind of decision, which should be implemented yesterday.

    Linda should help Pam pack. Then she should sit down and talk to vendors, other officials and tell them it is a new day. Then she should be a good winner and maybe even at the next trustee meeting, try to be conciliatory. From a winners’ vantage, of course.

    And how Cal got the decision? Don’t particularly care. You’ll be waiting a while for it from any of the newspapers. Lot of things going on none of us would ever know if it weren’t for Cal. I’ll hold his coat any time.

  13. I hope that being conciliatory from a winner’s vantage includes returning the misappropriated township records to the township and making them available to the trustees.

  14. Maybe when she talks to the vendors, she can explain why she hasn’t paid any of the bills they have submitted to the township, and try to convince them that they should still provide their services.

    And then she can explain to the taxpayers how all their tax dollars have gone to pay the lawyers associated with lawsuits she has filed against the township. Cal, would you be so helpful to let us all know how much we have paid Mr. Nelson?

  15. @ Paul Greenlee

    Okay, well, since Linda’s agenda is not to dismantle the township, as you suggest, than the only other reason for her lunacy is that she really is that incompetent. What IS her agenda anyway. I don’t believe she has ever said, even when asked directly. Maybe perhaps she can’t say….some kind of secret? If that’s the case, that’s a far cry from her “Transparency in Government” campaign slogan. Don’t you think?

    Simply stated, Linda is not competent enough to be supervisor of my dogs crate….in my opinion.

    Good day!

    – Voting Taxpayer

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