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March 24, 2016 / jeffnward

Quick Hits – March 24, 2016

We’re not in high school anymore Toto!

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the three Elgin firefighters, two male and one female, who were just disciplined for “sexting” each other and others – a typically high school pastime – between 2009 and 2013.

If you haven’t caught up yet, the DH did a reasonable job of sorting out the sordid details.

In the end, I agree with Mayor Kaptain, Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy, and the Union who unanimously declared the assorted punishments to be equitable. I even concur with Fahy’s contention that, “The videos and photos took 5 to 10 minutes of their time at work. In that time frame, Elgin firefighters put in about 1.5 million hours of work. It wouldn’t be fair to judge all of them by these 5 to 10 minutes.”

But where I start to deviate from that lofty pack is how in the heck did our trio come to the conclusion they were that invulnerable? C’mon! Putting that stuff on your cellphone is virtually the same thing plastering it all over social media.

The female firefighter, who was clearly having one or more affairs, had the nerve to say her ex-husband gained “unauthorized and possibly illegal access to certain personal information.” In other words, he picked up her cellphone and looked.

As a result of covering public entities for ten long years, I’ve learned that this frat house “we can get away with anything” attitude almost always starts at the top and I certainly have my suspicions here.

When I covered the County for the Beacon-News, Fire Chief Fahy was a board member. And while it’s not at all unusual for a politician to harbor an entitlement mindset (Mike Noland, Steve Caramelli, Rob Russell, Kevin Burns, Bill Sarto, Karen McConnnaughay…) John was particularly prone to that affliction.

Here’s a perfect example.

During the McConnaughay era, a plurality of the board members had a really bad habit of joking, laughing, and talking while citizens were speaking. And Fahy was the ringleader in that regard. I understand some of the public speakers were a bit nutty, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some basic respect.

When I wrote a column about that practice, instead of simply saying “You may be a bleep, but you’re right about this one,” John sought me out at the next board meeting and proceeded to tear me a new one for my “impropriety.”

Though I certainly will give him credit for doing it face-to-face.

Rest assured, 90 percent of Elgin firefighters would never do anything to disgrace themselves, the uniform, or the city. But given Fahy’s vast entitlement mentality and fascinating leadership style, I’d be willing to bet there’s more to come.

Of course, it was John Prigge!

Who ratted out Rose Martinez, that is!

An impeccable source told me Councilman John Prigge knew all about City Manager Sean Stegall playing editor to Councilwoman Martinez’s prose, and it was Prigge who told Elgin OCTAVE boss Chuck Keysor to FOIA those emails.

prigge

John Prigge

By the way, the fact that Keysor follows Prigge around like an overeager lapdog in no way absolves him from his complicity in this and other fiascos.

The thing is, I can’t get mad at John for behaving this badly because he’s exactly who he says he is. Going after him would be just like blaming the bee for that nasty sting – it’s what they do. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fascinating ironies here either.

Because after the grenade he hurled went off, John immediately took to Facebook to take advantage of his lackey’s dirty deed.

First he admitted that, “One look at the voting we have done in the last six months will produce (sadly) very few close votes where swaying an individual councilmember would have made a difference. Therefore, I see no reason [Sean] would do so.”

So John! If nothing’s changed, then what’s the bleepin’ problem? Other than you longing to see your name in print at every turn.

Then he called out the “liberal” city council members by asking them, “What exactly have you done to mentor or even help your appointee [Rose] in the last two years?

Apparently Councilman Prigge’s already forgotten that Rose was the third highest 2015 City Council vote getter, pretty much matching his best electoral performance. When you consider John’s modest admissions to being the best city councilman ever, why hasn’t he bothered to bestow his vast wisdom upon Rose?

But here’s the best part! Councilman Prigge meets with Sean Stegall at the Elgin Public House, every Thursday from noon to two, to discuss forthcoming agenda items. And while helping a peer with a bit of editing ain’t at all unusual, that is! In fact, John’s the only Alderman I know who meets with his City Manager on such a regular basis.

And if that isn’t the perfect opportunity for Sean to apply his clearly hypnotic capacities, I don’t know what is. So Chuck! When are you going after John?

Will the last one here please turn out the lights?

As we predicted, that Sixth Sense newspaper, the Kane County Chronicle, finally discovered they were dead yesterday.

JTShawAnd that admission came in the form an in-paper missive explaining that the Chronicle will shrink to a weekly print format with associated website updates and a Monday through Saturday email newsletter.

Needless to say, a former Chronicle editor and I quickly agreed that, for a wide variety of reasons, this “milestone,” as always inept General Manager J. Tom Shaw spun it, will never fly. It’s just the last in a long line of Shaw Media death throes.

But given how we’ve already gone on a bit here, we’ll delve into those details a bit more tomorrow.

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. you know who I am / Mar 24 2016 11:46 am

    When Shaw publications bought the Kendall County and Plano newspapers a few months ago, those two quickly descended to the mediocrity we have come to expect from the Kane County Chronicle.
    Now Shaw has bought the Elburn Herald, and we can expect that paper will be destroyed as well.

    Having worked for the old St. Charles Chronicle, before Shaw bought it, having seen Shaw appoint the paper’s advertising salesman (a guy we referred to as “The Ted Baxter of Publishing” to run it, failure was a forgone conclusion. Within six months most of the capable staff had left, and the long, downhill slide had begun.

    Now, there won’t be even ONE “print” newspaper in the immediate area to serve the public.

    • Jose / Mar 25 2016 12:44 pm

      Hey, I used to do customer service for Shaw. Man! It’s so sad hearing this.

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