Yikes! Those attorney’s fees certainly can add up!

If you recall, my sainted mother always said I should be either an attorney or a writer. And when you consider what former Kane County Chairman Karen McConnaughay’s attorneys are trying to bilk… I mean bill Kane County for defending her against Jim MacRunnells’ lawsuit, I did not choose wisely. 

Please recall that former county chair opponent and general activist MacRunnells sued Ms. McConnaughay for issuing those now infamous 50 percent raises to county directors and managers who reported directly to her. We covered that topic quite a bit in the Beacon-News.

For example, former Director of Development Phil Bus saw his salary go from $95,000 to $153,181, which is why he currently receives a $109,000 a year pension. MacRunnells asserted that, not only would those pay hikes eventually cost the taxpayers $20 million, but they were patently illegal.

Of course, the lawsuit was initially tossed by KC Circuit Court judge Thomas Mueller, but the Appeals Court disagreed and sent it right back to him. When MacRunnells’ efforts to get it in front of a new judge fell flat, the now miffed Mueller tossed it a second time without a second thought.

So now, sensing victory, McConnaughay’s outside attorneys have submitted their itemized bills to the court for payment.

Her high falutin’ downtown attorney quartet are claiming they expended a massive 163 hours to the tune of 71,701.23 in taxpayer dollars. That’s 18 grand a pop for a defense which basically consisted of repeating the phrase, “Did not!”

I would’ve done the same thing for a case of Bass Ale and still felt like I came out ahead.

Not to be outdone, enter Ken Shepro, the clown prince of Kane County politics and the “attorney” who has his hands in more pots than Rachel Wray. Despite the Chairman’s previous proclamation that he was too busy to work on county issues, Shepro is saying he spent 49.3 hours on this life and death matter. And at $275 an hour, that comes to $13,557.50.

Somehow he earned all that cash without ever showing his face in court.

You know, people used to be embarrassed by revelations like this. There used to be a thing called “shame” that acted as a deterrent for this kind of behavior. Not anymore!

If only General Patraeus had followed the Ward-Kelley Postulate!

Though it was nice to have some time off, it’s just as good to be back in the writing saddle once again. And we’ll start with Sunday’s Beacon-News column.  

Considering the source of General Patraeus’ untimely downfall, I thought it would be a good time to review the Ward-Kelley Postulate once again. Of course, my long-time readers know that moral imperative goes something like this: good friend Rob Kelley and I decided we’d never cheat on our wives because one woman in our lives is misery enough and we wouldn’t want to compound it with another.

It really boils down to simple math. And if our war hero had heeded the Postulate, he might still be heading up the CIA today! But perhaps it’s not too late for you! Read the column and might be spared all this undue agony.

This is how government is supposed to work!

All those hopefuls who say they’re gonna run government like a business are full of bleep.

Unlike CEOs, given the vast and generally powerless nature of mayors, county chairman and school board presidents, the only way they can ever get anything done is by consensus. Don’t believe me? Then simply look east to our nation’s capital for a prime example of what can happen when one side insists on saying “no!”

Not only did Wednesdays Geneva Patch column tackle this fascinating phenomenon, but I used the Geneva School as an example of a group that’s making some reasonable shifts. Through an evolving consensus, that board has moved away from what I like to call the “municipal mindset” much faster than anyone could’ve reasonably expected.

If you’re planning on running for office or simply trying to beat city hall, I’d start with this column!



The hippies strike back!

If you recall, we recently covered the fact that the Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice – or the “hippies” as I like to call them – insisted that the Elgin City Council set forth a resolution deriding SuperPAC money for derailing the political process. 

My theory was those kind of meaningless symbolic proclamations are utterly pointless and, like Jay’s Potato chips, once you start, you can’t stop making ’em.

But despite my efforts to educate the FVCPJ as to what a real grass movement requires, they struck back with yet another somewhat pointless symbolic gesture – two letters to the editor.

Thus, in Monday’s Courier-News column, not only do I dismiss the notion of a “meaningful” resolution, but I explain that the FVCPJ’s basic premise is flawed because all that PAC money fell completely flat. Of the $400 million Karl Rove’s Crossroads SuperPAC spent, only 1.2 percent went to winning candidates.

So you can resolve until you’re blue in the face, but as long as politicians benefit from this largesse, in light of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling, campaign finance reform will only come from within.

As one of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt, likes to say, “We need conservatives that can accept gays, and we need hippies that can shave and bathe, then we’ll move forward.”

Thanks for tuning in, but if you didn’t…

A big thank you to all the astute folks who tuned in to Left, Right and You on AM1410 today. But even if you didn’t, you can still listen to the scintillating show right here: Left Right and You Nov. 20

Since we’re on the subject of gratitude, please allow me to issue a hearty round of applause to 83rd District State Rep Linda Chapa LaVia for calling in and reminding us that some Democrats are far better at the fiscal conservative thing than the Republicans.

Linda Chapa LaVia

Now, if I can only convince Linda to run in the 11th Congressional District.

Also as usual, a hearty slap on the back to co-hosts Allen Skillicorn and Tim Elenz who are always up for a fascinating conversation.

Until next week…

You turn me on, I’m (on) a radio

And you thought I’d run out of rock ‘n roll radio references, didn’t you! But thanks to Joni Mitchell, I came through once again. 

Today! On Left, Right and You, AM1410, from 3 to 4, not only will one of my favorite politicians, State Rep Linda Chapa LaVia,  be calling in, but Allen Skillicorn, Tim Elenz and I will discuss topics like:

1. The rise and fall of Jesse Jackson, Jr.

2. The rise and fall of General David Petraeus, who I’m guessing won’t be rising for quite awhile.

3. Was all that PAC money really worth it?

4. The Tribune catching Denny Hastert doing business out of his government funded office, and

5. Hopefully, your calls at 847-931-1410

If you want to be the envy of all your friends – and who doesn’t – I’d suggest you tune in!

Yorkville aldermen get health insurance!!??

Since we’re on the subject of Kendall County, I was stunned to learn that lowly Yorkville aldermen enjoy health insurance benefits to the tune of $100,000 to $150,000 taxpayer dollars every year.

Aldermen? That’s supposed to be an essentially volunteer position – not a method of covering the cost of your prostate exams. This frightening revelation brings back dire visions of the Chicago Democratic Machine, not the the fine staid Republican folk of Yorkville.

Call me crazy, but I always thought the GOP was vehemently against this kind of abject socialistic endeavor. Who knew they were really closet liberals?

Granted, Yorkville just voted to do away with that perk, but only after the folks who currently enjoy it leave the city council dais. Apparently their motto is, “Let’s not rush into anything foolish.”

Could this be yet another reason that Kendall County folk tend to pay more in property taxes than the rest of the state? Health insurance for aldermen! Where do I sign up?