More on the McHenry County Board discussion of a five-year contract for County Administrator Peter Austin:
Diane Evertsen started off, complaining about the size of the compensation, which she calculated included a 3 1/2% .
She compared that with the 3/10 of 1% raise that Social Security recipients will receive next year.
Her “Number 1” problem, however, was the five-year term of the contract.
“It’s absolutely unconscionable,” Evertsen said.
“‘Unconscionable’ is a good word for this,” Yvonne Barnes said.
“I can’t vote for this.
“I can’t decide whether I’m extremely sad that this is on our agenda or extremely sick this is on the agenda.
“There are no words for me that I can state in public what I feel about how this came to us and what’s included in this.
“Honestly, in my eight years on the County Board this is the most shameful resolution I have ever seen.”
Barnes pointed to a recently passed a County code for employees which included “accountability, integrity and respect.”
“I think this fails in all three areas.”
Robert Nowak was next.
He wondered why a residency requirement was not included in the contract.
Discussion led to the revelation that Administrator Austin lives in Crystal Lake.
Nowak also wondered why performance standards were not included in the contract, although he did not use that phraseology.
The Lake in the Hills Board member thought it would be good to have a commitment to cut the budget 5%.
Tina Hill pointed out that the County Board gave the Administrator direction “when we pass our budget policy.”
Jeff Thorsen expressed concern about the long-term nature of the contract.
“Five years. I have a problem with that with the Board on the eve of change.
“I think the least we can do is postpone the decision until a Board that’s going to have to live with that decision can have the opportunity to weigh in.
“I have a deep concern that a Board that is partially on its way out is imposing a long-term situation on a Board we don’t even know who is.”
Chuck Wheeler pointed out that Austin’s contract automatically was renewed if the County Board took now action.
“I thought that was not in good judgment and now we get five years.
“I would ask that we take a second long look at this.
“Mr. Austin has done a fine job as Administrator,” Wheeler said, but indicated he wanted “commitments made by Mr. Austin to the Count Board.
He then moved to table the resolution until next January. (The new Board will be sworn in the first week of December.)
Carolyn Schofield, who decided to run for State Representative rather than running for re-election, “completely disagree[d] with that.
“You’d rather take the opinion of someone whose been here one month over those who have been here four years?
“Be professional here,” she urged.
Hill, who also decided not the run for re-election, opting for seeking the Recorder of Deeds office, “vehemently disagree[d]” with the motion.
Pointing to her fourteen years on the Board, Hill argued that one of the reasons to vote on Tuesday “is so that it is not politicized in the next term of the County Board.
“I’m the one qualified to make that decision.”
Hill referred to Donna Kurtz speaking “eloquently” on that the need for “lack of politicization” in committee.
She argued for continuity, saying that by delaying the vote until January and “you’re going to see everything flying all over the place.
“We are hiring a professional administrator who is not political.
“Personal agendas and politics–I just won’t stand for it!”
McHenry County Republican Board Chairman candidate Mike Walkup agreed with not waiting.
He pointed out that “a future Board Chairman could terminate the Administrator and act as the Administrator.
“If that’s what you want and you want to take that risk, go ahead.
“We should act on it in the current term.”
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