Zinke Job Recommendatons Top Secret, Hush, Hush

Working on a tip that Undersheriff Andy Zinke had given some interesting job recommendations, McHenry County Blog filed Freedom of Information requests for those which he signed since he became Sheriff Keith Nyren’s top assistant.

Three were provided, but with the names blanked out.

I appealed to the Public Access Counselor of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

The one below was sent to McHenry Police Chief John Jones on August 30, 2010.

Andy Zinke job recommendation

Andy Zinke job recommendation to the McHenry Police Chief.

The next one, dated December 12, 2011, is addressed “To Whom It May Concern.”  It praises a former employee.  Zinke characterizes as “one of the best,” not to mention “an avid basketball player.”

Dated December 12, 2011, this letter of recommendation from Andy Zinke is for

Dated December 12, 2011, this generalized letter of recommendation from Andy Zinke is for a former employee–“one of the best”–of the Sheriff’s Office.

The third letter, dated July 24, 2013, is addressed to the Disney Cruise Line’s Human Resources Manager, whose name is not redacted.  In the letter, Zinke states, “I do not provide a reference for everyone who makes such a request.”

This letter of recommendation from Undersheriff Andy Zinke is for a job at Disney.

This letter of recommendation from Undersheriff Andy Zinke is for a job at Disney.Cruise Lines.  Apparently, he used to work for the State Police.

I was going to wait until my appeal was decided upon, but, then, I read the Sheriff’s Department’s reply to my appeal:

“As indicated previously, the names were redacted pursuant to sections 7 1 (b) and (c) which exempt private and personal information.

“The disclosure of these names without the consent of the involved would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of the privacy of those parties. Furthermore, the privacy interest of the involved individuals in their employment status outweighs any interest Mr. Skinner or the public may have in knowing the redacted names.

“Finally, the redacted information does not bear on the public duTies of any public employee or official.”

This prompted the following reply from McHenry County Blog. Here’s part of it:

“The last paragraph has me chuckling:

‘Finally, the redacted information does not bear on the public duties of any public employee or official.’


“If they have nothing to do with Andy Zinke’s official duties, why were taxpayer resources used to prepare and print them?

“Further, if any of the individuals have been terminated from the Sheriff’s Department and later have been given favorable recommendations, that would be in the public interest to bring to light.”


Zinke Job Recommendatons Top Secret, Hush, Hush — 20 Comments

  1. Impressive well written professional recommendation letters by Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, thanks Cal for sharing.

  2. I see we’re trying to “become” the “news” again-impressive.

    Always good to try and start up another “witch hunt” about nothing.

  3. Cal, I come to your blog to get helpful and interesting information, but this is just nonsense.

  4. “Fukoku”= Kim Zinke…

    The above commentators are from the Mchenry County Sheriffs Department..

    Their opinions are not valid..

    They have done nothing but help Andy Zinke weave that web of lies….

    This is not nonsense and it is helpful information.

  5. Looks like Cal Skinner is trying AGAIN to drum up controversy and NOW over recommendations letters.


    Would you see controversy in a high school professor writing college recommendation letters for a student?

    How about a former employer of yours helping you out and writing a letter for a potential job you want?

    This is utter nonsense.

    To readers of the blog, I urge caution in trying to read “political tea leaves” as Skinner has claimed doing so many times before.

    Here’s why: A short time ago, I spoke to someone close to Prim.

    My source who will remain unnamed stated that when Prim decided to get into the sheriff race, he wanted a clean campaign without all the political fanfare and fake controversy that our local bloggers and real media have so clung to.

    Bill Prim AND Andy Zinke are honest men trying to run honest, clean, and honorable campaigns.

    Only until the Prim campaign was noticed by this blog and by Joe Walsh did the ‘controversy’ start. i.e. Rita Corp running drugs, Zinke’s culpability concerning DEA investigations, wrongful terminations which, to this date, have been completely unfounded and otherwise have left Undersheriff Zinke with a clean record and Bill Prim left shaking his head at the circus surrounding him.

    But he is not ringmaster; there are others’ behind the scenes unnecessarily pulling strings for ends that only amount to creating controversy.

    All of the previous examples of controversy have been drum up and exaggerated in patently false yellow journalism.

    Both Bill Prim AND Andy Zinke are looking to have an honest campaign.

    A campaign without mud slinging.

    This is for a Sheriff’s office after all and why can’t we make this race one of who is the classiest, most honorable, and best intentioned man to be our Sheriff?

    That is all.

    So, to the readers, again, do you want to feed the trolls or foster the leaders? Your choice, I choose the highroad…..

  6. Fair Play, perfectly we’ll stated!

    Bill prim wants nothing to do with these kind of “pot stirring” secret agent man lunacy!

    Why would any employees records be any of our business.

    Undersheriff Zinke has every right to make recommendations of who ever he chooses.

    I have read Mr. Zinke’s employment file and he seems like a perfect choice for Sheriff to pick as his choice.

    Remember this is U.S. Zinkes first public run, naturally he will make some Rookie errors on the campaign trail.

    Echoing the same for Bill Prim.

    He is certainly qualified to be Sheriff.

    He too is new to all this so we need to cut him some slack.

    Let’s allow theses two qualified men run on their professional resumes. Period!

    The fun and games is over as should be the arousal of such titles as this stories title. There is no story here.

    Good luck to both men, we hope to hear your positions soon, as it has been very quiet.

    How about the NW Herald begin interviewing each candidate each bi-weekly time frame, then publish.

    We need our local paper involved, fair and square. Non partisan.

  7. Can’t wait to learn on whose behalf the recommendations were sent by Zinke.

    Good snooping, Cal.

    The flimsy excuse given by MCSD for refusing your FOIA request will never survive the AG’s office, but you’ll probably have to follow FEN into court to get the response.

  8. Interesting that Zinke would make a recommendation for a friend to a newly appointed Chief of Police.

    This recommendation must have been for a Deputy Chief position that the new Chief would have to make after careful consideration of his existing staff.

    Zinke should learn to mind his own business.

    I’m sure that Chief Jones was perfectly capable of making a choice for his Deputy Chief without Zinke inserting himself in another departments business.

    Looks like its a pattern for Zinke to write letters trying to get friends jobs.

    Hopefully after this election, Zinke will be relying on letters from friends to get him a job

  9. “Zinke should learn to mind his own business.”

    What if Zinke was asked to write the letter.

    And then you say: “Zinke will be relying on letters from friends to get him a job”

    Isn’t that basically counter to what you said before?

    Quit being snarky and think for yourself.

    Zinke and Prim are great candidates and either would serve the county honorably.

    This sort of yellow journalism does nothing but feed the trolls.

  10. In reference to my previous comment and in the same theme as choosing the highroad I would like to offer my apologies for contributing to the utter hate on this blog for otherwise nice, family men.

    I would also like to apologize to ANY Prim supporter I may have offended in the last few weeks. *(That includes you Duncan McHenry).

    Prim is a great candidate and so is Zinke.

    Thanks to all who are willing to look at the facts and not let their emotions or irrational thought dictate keystrokes.

  11. Where’s the one for deputy Big O.

    The sheriff was ready to fire him for some apparent violations of MCSO rules.

    But instead my hubby is letting him use all his PAID sick time for months and then is going to give him a recommendation letter for his next job.

    Lakewood PD should be careful who they hire.

    My hubby must really like him because he doesn’t do that for all employees.

    I wonder if Big O is actually sick or being allowed to use his sick time like they allowed the accused pedophile Greg Pyle.

    Maybe it’s things like this that make the deputies hate my husband and his boss.

    This is going to be a long election. I better go pop some more pills.

    I feel another Fukoku or K’ehleyr rant coming on.

    I just love Asians and Star Trek.

    I’m so nutty!

  12. Cooky, I think its Lakemoor or Island Lake that Deputy Mitzven maybe applying to.

    There is your story Cal.

    Investigate the employment status of this deputy.

    Cooky is right about what is happening.

    This guy is out using sick time yet he’s not sick.

    Deputies get written up and suspended for doing what Zinke and Nygren are allowing Mitzven to do.

  13. People carry letters of recommendation around all the time.

    I personally don’t think Zinke recommending anyone has much sway.

    Most Chiefs like to surround themselves with people that kiss their ass and what Zinke thinks matters little.

    Now if Zinke was recommending dock workers at Rita or guys to work the Rat Wagon for Operating Engineers 150 I bet they would really think they were getting a great ass kisser.

    Obviously Nygren figured Zinke was a premium ass kisser.

    Why else would he take a less than mediocre deputy and promote him to this level of incompetence.

    The Peter Principle in rare form.

  14. Zinke and Nygren Couldn’t possibly do anything but find a way to promote Deputy Mitzen.

    After all, who knows he just might write a tell all book, down the road, exposing the Nygren and Zinke Circus and all of their misdeeds…..

    That is the way it has worked in the Sheriffs Department for years.

  15. Hmmm Robert Grant formerly of the Agent in charge of the Chicago office is now Vice President of Walt Disney World in California..

    What does that have to do with anything?

    Hmmmmmm Andy Zinke and Robert Grant are friends…..

    That is a fact….

    In fact, Andy has a lot of friends in High places….

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