Grafton Township Pays Road Commissioner $200,000 of Township Hall Loan

Supervisor Linda Moore hands Road Commissioner Jack Freund a check for $200,000, which she signed after the Trustees approved payment. Township Clerk Harriet Ford is seen to the right.

Township government consists of two parts, the Road District, which was spun off as a separate unit of government by the General Assembly and the rest of township government, usually called the township.

The last administration of the Grafton Township Board borrowed $700,000 from the Road District to build a new township hall.

The motion to borrow the money was done without proper notice and township residents successfully sued to stop the building of a new township hall.

Linda Moore rode the issue to election, narrowly beating Supervisor John Rossi.

Rossi’s allies remained in control of the board, however.  They ever gained a fervent supporter of building a new township hall in Gerry McMahon, one of Moore “running mates.”

Pretty much everything about Grafton Township politics revolves around the defeat of those in control of the board–the Township Trustees–in getting their dream of a new building constructed.

At last year’s township meeting, with over 700 attending, the electors overwhelmingly voted to unwind the loan, that is have the township repay the road district the borrowed $700,000.

For whatever reason, the Township Trustees delayed in doing so until after a citizen-initiated referendum on the question of building a new township hall overwhelmingly lost last November.

Meanwhile Supervisor Moore and her allies wanted all of the money paid back at once so the loan could be repaid to Harris Bank.  Under terms of the loan, the bank will not accept partial payment, so interest must be paid until the entire amount is tendered.

In addition, the Road District will charge Grafton Township rent each month until the loan is repaid.

That issue was argued at a Special Town Meeting before the Annual Town Meeting Tuesday night and Moore’s supporters lost their effort to force a lump sum repayment.

At Thursday night’s regular township meeting, Moore followed the wishes indicated by the Electors’ votes.

Mentioned many times by those in opposition to the lump sum repayment was the fact that an audit of last year’s books is overdue.  The reason for the delay was the Wayne Brown accounting firm did not want to start prior to the end of the separation of powers litigation filed by Moore when the Trustees decided to hire Pam Fender as Township Administrator to do everything legally possible without her being the Township Supervisor.

This was found by Judge Michael Caldwell (the same judge to stopped the new township hall) to have been done improperly. In short, he found the Trustees had overstepped their bounds, that the Supervisor was in charge of the day-to-day business of a township. the same way a village president is in charge of the day-to-day business of a village.

The lack of an audit was brought up Thursday night, with the Trustees asking for a firm that was not located in McHenry County.

About fifteen citizens attended the April 14, 2011, Grafton Township Meeting.

Moore had two suggestions, which, coincidentally, were both non-McHenry County firms.

The Trustees decided they want a presentation from both firms.

As usual, the meeting was free form, which is to be expected for a governmental body that has voted not to follow Roberts Rules of Order.

Trustee Gerry McMahon lived up to his reputation of shouting loudly a couple of times.

But, unlike past meetings I have attended audience members added to the disrpuption of decorum.

There was the usual talking over one another between Moore and the Trustees.

Unusual were fights that Moore picked with Township Assessor Bill Ottley over paying the second installment of a bill for new computer software and with Township Road Commissioner Jack Freund over the fixing of a shed that it turns out that salt pushing outward damaged.

Both clearly resented Moore’s intrusion in their balliwicks.

In other action, the Trustees refused to pay Linda Moore’s separation of powers lawsuit attorney, John Nelson, stating they wished to contest his hourly rate of $250.

They deferred payment to Richard Cowen, the attorney that Moore consulted prior to engaging Nelson.

Cowen’s name appeared in the meeting packet as being a speaker on “Township Personnel – Who Hires, Fires and Controls” at the Township Attorney’s Association meeting on in Bloomington on May 6th.  No Ancel Glink attorney was listed on the program.

The regular meeting ended something before ten. Conversation continued among some of the Trustees.

I took a lot of notes and could give provide a pretty good blow by blow, but these Grafton Township meetings last too late and I’m tired.

Attorney Nelson also attended the meeting and took a lot of notes.


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