Quick Hits – February 1, 2016
If you wanna see what a Ken Shepro Kane County regime would look like…
Then look no further than the tumultuous tenure of the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District. You see, while Rome burns, the white Don King, whose been their attorney since day one, has presided over the following:
- Instead of warning former President Jim Gaffney that no one can run a fire protection district on a 27 cents per $100 EAV (most districts are at $1.00 or higher), Shepro perpetuated that fantasy so he could collect yet another governmental legal fee.
- Despite every local fire chief and the City of St. Charles saying it couldn’t be done on that minimal tax levy, Shepro convinced Gaffney it was in the bag. (Not that it took that much to convince Gaffney whose ego actually surpasses Shepro’s.)
- Shepro advised the board that a levy raising referendum would be a slam dunk because the FRCFRD would still be coming in well below the neighboring fire protection districts’ tax levies. But the fine conservative Campton Hills voters sent those ballot requests down in flames and God bless ‘em for it.
- As a result of this underfunding, the FRCFRD goes through employees even faster than State Senator Karen McConnaughay does because these employees quickly realize they don’t have the tools to do their job.
- In an effort to point the finger at each other for the district’s abject failure, Shepro and Gaffney had a falling out. So Gaffney resigned as president and then he resigned from the board completely.
- Shortly thereafter, Gaffney showed up at a board meeting with a tape recorder in tow, claiming that group was deceiving their constituents.
- Because they can’t float a tax increase referendum, the district has resorted to a part-time employee model which means they’ll only be able to hire folks who can’t get a job anywhere else. And any thought of buying expensive new equipment is just a pipe dream.
- Seeing the handwriting on the wall, FRCFRD Chief Carl DeLeo just resigned for the third time with the board finally accepting this one letter.
To top all that off, Ken has been advising Coroner Rob Russell as well. Add his County Board attorney tenure and this guy leaves more destruction in his wake than Hurricane Sandy.
At least Geneva is entertaining
The current kerfuffle in my hometown involves the attempted installation of a massive five story 219 apartment development at the old Cetron Factory site near Geneva High School.
When that project came before the planning commission last week, Marquette Companies President Darren Sloniger was taken aback by the furious 200 resident pushback because, not only did an unnamed City of Geneva administrator/elected official invite them into the City, but they convinced him to buy that land outright.
And I know exactly what happened.
It was Mayor Kevin Burns, along with City Manager Mary McKittrick who initially reached out to the company claiming the whole thing was a done deal because they still believe they have a rubber stamp City Council who will do their bidding without question.
So the real humor here is the development didn’t even make it past the planning commission (and it won’t get any further any time soon.)
The reason they put the cart before the horse is Mayor Burns and Queen Mary are so desperate to put Geneva over the 25,000 resident mark they’ll make a deal with the devil to see it happen. That includes, but isn’t nearly limited to, conning a development company into coming into the city with absolutely no chance of success.
Why is that 25,000 number so important? Because it would give Geneva Home Rule powers which include raising taxes without going to a referendum. Why, that prospect makes Burns and McKittrick more giddy than Donald Trump gazing upon his gleaming visage in the bathroom mirror.
But not to fear my fellow Genevans! I called Mr. Sloniger myself and we had a wonderful conversation. I explained the Burns/McKittrick modus operandi, told him he’d been had, and warned him that this project would never make past the City Council.
Then I suggested that he go with his alternate self-storage facility idea because, given the former Cetron building zoning, that kind of enterprise would be a slam dunk. I also told Mr. Sloniger he could count on me any time for the kind of Geneva wisdom you just can’t get anywhere else.
An interesting Elburn Scenario
In response to my previous post on the Elburn Village Board/Village Manager conflagration, my good friend and Gilberts’ Mayor, Rick Zirk, had an interesting proposition.
Rick rightly noted that it’s the village president appoints the village manager with with the advice and consent of the village board. The statute also states that an outgoing city manager will serve until their replacement has been appointed.
That begs the question, what if Mayor Anderson refused to name a successor? That means, should she so choose, much like a lapsed lease becomes month-to-month, VM Willrett could essentially serve as long as Mayor Anderson serves.
Thanks Rick! Your theory is a fascinating proposition. Though it will likely never come to pass because Ms. Willrett wouldn’t want to put herself in that position and, though I haven’t been able to confirm it, a reliable source told me that she already has another gig.
Elburn’s loss will certainly be some other municipality’s gain!