Another View of the Human Resources Committee Meeting Last Wednesday

I wasn’t the only one to listen to the McHenry County Board’s Human Resources Committee meeting last week.

You can read my take

Former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster gives her take below:

Human Resources Committee meeting

It is necessary to continue on the bumpy trail of county government and the ongoing issues surrounding the at-large-election of the McHenry County Board Chairman.

During the 3/15/17 Human Resources Committee (HR) meeting, members finally got down to working on the ill-advised hiring of the chairman’s “personal” staff.

A huge thank you to Members Wilcox, Rein, Kurtz and Wilbeck. Touching a ”3rd rail” is not a comfortable place to be; however, it is a true public servant who is capable of standing up and willing to meet these difficult situations head on.

These folks came to the meeting well informed and made their case in voting against a resolution intended to “justify” the positions in question.

On the “hot seat” was County Administrator Austin, over and over again, he stated, “this was the first time a chairman has been elected at large…” and “it has created some unique problems.”

The Administrator explained that, upon being sworn into office, the chairman came to him with some strong opinions about how the office had been run and “was quite adamant in what he wanted.” That, he, the chairman, “was going to run things differently.”

At one point the administrator stated “…the chairman has the authority to ask for anything.” This was the underlying rationale he used for carrying out the chair’s directive to figure out how he, the chairman, could get his people hired. There upon, the Administrator went about “robbing-peter-to-pal-Paul…” so to speak, in finding open positions and money designated for other departments to accomplish this goal.

Member McCann, defending the ultimate actions, suggested the administrator had the authority to figure out how to make these hirers happen. In making these conclusions, she was telling half the truth and ignoring the whole truth. The administrator has specific authorities… “with the county board’s consent.”

Unfortunately, far too many public officials deal with like issues in this manner.

Bottom line.

The county board, when placing the referendum on the ballot to elect the chairman at large, never intended for this elected chairman to perform any more, nor any less actions, or activities, than prior chairmen.

The intend was that this person would function in the same capacity as his/her predecessors and to be guided by the County Board Rules and State Statute.

From the discussion, and from all indications, there are those on the county board who, after the fact, are considering giving the position authority rejected by the voters when they shouted, by a 2 to 1 margin, NO! No to a referendum on electing a chairman-at-large under the EXECUTIVE form of county government.

As simply as it can be stated… the chairman needs to cool his jets… accept the position as the board intended and work with the board… not in opposition, nor to undermine them at every turn.

He has a beautiful office. He has a big fat salary and benefits. He has access to secretarial staff.

He needs to come to grips with his role by listening to, and working with the county board to carry out their directives. It was never intended that being elected to the position meant growing another whole department of county government. That folks… is what is actually happening.

Interesting, for the guy who ran, and was elected because he was going to reduce our taxes!


Another View of the Human Resources Committee Meeting Last Wednesday — 10 Comments

  1. There is a Human Resources item on the agenda (and in the agenda packet) of tonight’s Regular County Board Meeting.

    “Resolution Authorizing a Contract Agreement with The Archer Company to Provide a Classification – Compensation – Benefit Analysis.”

    This resolution should not be approved by the board at tonight’s meeting.

    The resolution should be pulled (taken out) out of the consent agenda.

    The Oliver Serafini and Bridget Geenen hires have not yet been resolved and they involved reclassifying positions.

    Don’t make changes to a classification system that is in dispute.

  2. It’s well past time for the Board members to take a hard stand against the usurper. Failing to do this by any member of the board will likely see them go the way of Bob Miller.

    Primary season comes soon.

  3. One other point about the, “Resolution Authorizing a Contract Agreement with The Archer Company to Provide a Classification – Compensation – Benefit Analysis.”

    The memo that appears after the resolution in the agenda packet contains an inappropriate sentence.

    Here is the sentence.

    “Many of McHenry County’s non-union positions have evolved over the last 10 years due to department reorganizations and a significant reduction in the number of non-union positions (100+) without a significant contraction of services.”

    What’s wrong with that sentence?

    The number of union locals in county government has increased from 3 to 11 in the last 10 years.

    That is a 267% increase in union locals in county government in 10 years.

    Could that be a contributing factor as to why there has not been a significant contraction of services?

    Why was that not mentioned?

    The issue of there not having been a significant contraction of services is painted with a non-union stroke, omitting the fact unions have dramatically increased.

  4. Here is what should be done.

    The current Classification system documentation (funded by taxpayers) should be fully revealed to the public.

    Post it on a website.

    All the details.

    So taxpayers can look at it, and understand the steps that should have been followed in the Oliver Serafini and Bridget Geenen hires.

    How EXACTLY according to the DOCUMENTATION paid for by TAXPAYERS is the Classification and reclassification system supposed to work.

    That’s what we should be discussing.

    Not changing the system that was not used!

  5. My question, Mark, is:

    Why do we need an updated Job Classification System when the Board does not follow the one already in place?

  6. If Mr. Austin is a member of the International City Management Association he is held to a standard by the code of ethics to not engage in patronage hiring practices.

    ICMA code: Tenet 11. Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member’s decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.

  7. Anyone who doesn’t take this in hand and remedy it, doesn’t deserve to be on the board.
    And Franks should definitely find himself getting voted out like Bob Miller!

  8. We don’t at this time.

    The County Board history of the proposed Archer contract to update the job classification system:

    – February 9, 2017 Finance & Audit Committee Meeting – FAILED

    – February 21, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting (minutes in March 21st Regular Board Meeting Agenda packet for this Feb 21st meeting note the topic was discussed as a non agenda item at a previous HR Committee)

    – February 28, 2017 Human Resources Committee Meeting

    – March 21, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting

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