Quick Hits – June 18, 2018

Be still my beating heart!

So, Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen broke a tie vote to reimburse himself for a $34 book? Why, the scurrilous scoundrel! I’m thinking death penalty here! C’mon! What’s next? Cutting tags off mattresses, providing accounts of Cubs games without Major League Baseball’s express written consent, and putting money in other peoples’ parking meters?

Of course, in their precipitous plunge to the journalistic bottom – they haven’t managed to find it yet – the Daily Herald made this non-story headline news. And they managed to get it wrong again, too!

Lauzen

You see, the aforementioned book wasn’t about Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, as Jim Fuller reported, it was on Blockchain technology, a different animal entirely. According to IBM:

“Blockchain is a shared immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. A business blockchain, such as IBM Blockchain and the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, provides a permissioned network with known identities.”

Apparently Mr. Fuller can’t even get the time right twice a day!

Put more simply, Blockchain is a far more secure version of the Internet. Cities like Austin, Texas, are using it to track the homeless, and Blockchain may be the answer to bulletproof Internet voting. The public-sector applications are virtually endless.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’ll personally pay that $34, because I kinda like the notion of a County chairman who keeps up with the latest technologies. I don’t know if I would’ve broken that tie to reimburse myself, but you certainly can’t accuse the man of trying to hide anything!

And the real irony is, while the Daily Herald gave former Chairman Karen McConnaughay a pass on completely redefining the term “pay-to-play, going after Lauzen for a $34 book makes them look mean, petty, and not too bright.

All Ms. McConnaughay had to do is bat her eyelashes at John Lampinen, Jim Slusher, Jim Baumann and the rest of those incompetent editors and they lauded her artificial virtue at every turn. After all, they have very delicate sensibilities.

But wait, there’s more!

Liberal outrage has become such a powerful addiction that Aurora State Rep Stephanie Kifowit just had to rally the Democratic regulars and propose sainthood for those stalwart board members who furiously wept as they took a stand on a $34 book.

I’m thinkin’ reality show!

To be fair, I’ve always liked and admired Ms. Kifowit. Any woman who can make it in the Marine Corps deserves our utmost respect. But with no disrespect intended, I’ll take Chairman Lauzen, his $34 book, and a six-year flat tax levy over the fiscal devastation wrought by that Democratic Springfield supermajority every time.

As for those pious mostly Democratic board members who voted against the $34 book, when you give up the full pension and Cadillac health care benefits you get for a very part-time job, I’ll take you all a lot more seriously.

Let’s all move on to more important things.

 

You were right!

To all those folks who insisted that union members who crossed the probation picket line were scabs, you were right and I wuz wrong! I always thought the word “scab” was reserved for non-union folks taking union jobs.

But what frosts my flakes (just a little) is, the rabble’s ongoing theory that, if they don’t like a column, they can use something as simple as a spelling error to dismiss the entire thing. But if they love it, the most massive factual error won’t deter their effusive praise in any way.

Giant Rat

So yes! Twenty-five probation workers crossed the line, but since the strike had nothing to do with scab workers, and my column had everything do with a Teamsters local that had no clue, my point remains unchanged, despite that minor connotational error.

And that point was to use those utterly out-of-place giant inflatable animals as a metaphor for Teamster 330’s complete failure to understand a public-sector strike. If I were one of those probation workers, I’d be lobbying to bring in a new union in right now.

I’m glad we cleared that up.

 

But I am right on this one!

Repeat after me class! COUNTY CHAIRMEN ARE NOT CEOs, as so many of you insisted in replies to the same strike story. Though they both lead large entities and they generally report to shareholders/voters, that’s where the similarities begin and end.

I’m also convinced that none a y’all know that Illinois has three separate forms of county government, none of which are analogous to a corporate structure. Cook County always makes their own rules, there’s another set of statutes for counties with at least 500,000 people like the collar variety, and then there’s all the rest.

Once hired, within the bound of the law, CEO’s have absolute power over that business and everyone in it. A county chairman has no such authority. In fact, once their budget is set, the chairman cannot interfere with the countywide elected officials’ process for any reason.

All he or she can do is make suggestions. That doesn’t sound like any CEO I know!

CEOs can implement, change or remove corporate policies as they see fit. But the Kane County chairman has to amass 13 board votes before anything changes, and that’s kinda like herding cats.

CEOs say “jump,” and if their underlings want to keep their jobs, they reply, “How high?” Collar County chairmen don’t get to vote unless there’s a tie. They’re forced to rely on their powers of persuasion to get anything done.

CEOs get seven-figure salaries and amazing perks. The Kane County chairman makes about $110,000 and gets the same benefits as your lowly part-time board member.

Depending upon the industry, CEOs occasionally have to contend with some strange statutory requirements. Ah! But chairmen have to deal with interminable volumes of state laws, most of which contain unfunded mandates.

To put it in the simplest terms possible, CEOs preside over varying degrees of what should be a benevolent dictatorship, while County chairman are travel soccer coaches at best. That’s why you’ll never see me run for that office.

I’m glad we cleared that one up, too!

 

9 thoughts on “Quick Hits – June 18, 2018

  1. Just out of curiosity where is this $34 book?
    Can I go look at it? Belongs to the county now right? I am not try to be petty but since he got reimbursed it must belong to public. You would think I T department might have one. But also good for him on trying to keep up that block chain stuff is probably going to be a game changer starting with the recorders office

  2. Jeff,

    You will never make it in the world of today’s journalism, you’re to honest. Today’s journalism must be slanted beyond truth and hold onto that position though it all when he or she is in the wrong…

    And to get a retraction or correction…good luck!

  3. . . . . FOOTBALL . . . . .We NEVER use the “S” word ! ! ! !

  4. Jeff,

    Normally, I agree with you on you on a lot of things and I appreciate your tenacity when it comes to pursuing the truth. However, I am at a complete loss to explain your impulses to defend Chris Lauzen. While regularly skewering Kevin Burns, seldom is heard a discouraging word when it comes to Lauzen. This is despite the fact that the two are so similar, starting with ego problems down to the oft-spoke fears of retribution many of those who disagree with them express. Their similarities may in part explain the many skirmishes they’ve had had over the years when they should have been working together to benefit their constituents.

    This $34 book expense is only part of the story. The Chairman routinely submits expenses that fall outside the reimbursement guidelines. And although a lot of those expenses are minor and have been allowed, the practice demonstrates a tendency to play outside the rules. If the rules are a problem, change them rather than bending them for one individual.

    Lauzen’s judgment issues don’t begin and end with questionable expenses though. I lost what little faith I had in his ability to govern when he appointed his political crony Robert Sauceda to animal control as billing manager. This was after he failed to get him in as coordinator. Not only was Sauceda lacking experience, but apparently a few other qualities we expect in our officials as well. His tenure was a disaster. And his continuing behavior following his hasty exit from the county begs the question of how could anyone consider giving this man any position in government. Starting with his ridiculous attempt to legally change his name to include CPA to these latest issues, I continue to question Lauzen’s judgment and yours as well when you continue to overlook his failings and try to shift blame to his detractors.

    Terry Flanagan

    • Terry, I will be happy to reply to your typically cogent comment!

      1. The most important thing is the Chairman actually keeps his promise to keep the tax levy flat. Since no politician is perfect, I can live with his flaws and foibles which I regularly point out.

      2. To wit, I would encourage you to re-read my columns on Chairman Lauzen’s attempted intervention in the Aurora Mayoral race. I hammered him like no one before and it was a huge story. Not only that, but because of a vast difference of opinion, the Chairman and I didn’t talk for two years. Like you said, I am relentless in pursuing what I believe to be the truth and I spare no one.

      3. As I wrote, when those part-time county board members give up the 25 grand salary, the pension and the Cadillac health care plan, I might actually listen to what they have to say.

      4. And Kevin Burns and I were once friends, but it turns out, unlike me, he actually is a pathological wife abusing liar. And I have the police reports to prove it. My attorney wants me to be ginger in this regard, but I can’t wait to see the Mayor in a particular Third Street Geneva venue.

      5. Yes! I’ve experienced the Chairman’s wrath head on, and I was more than happy to return the favor. But unlike most politicians, in the end, Chris Lauzen respects the truth and always let’s it go if you persist with it. That doesn’t mean he’ll take my advice, but he does listen, and sometimes I actually win that battle.

      6. And yes again! The Chairman often has a problem with the the somewhat restrictive rules of his office. He has great difficulty being “the coach.” But again, it often comes down to moral relativism. Former Chairman Karen McConnaughay basically raped the KC taxpayer and redefined pay-to-play. Meanwhile, the Chairman says exactly who he is and I don’t have a problem with that.

      7. And you’re right again! He doesn’t understand that, if you don’t like the rules, you need to change them. But he certainly ain’t the first elected official to have that problem. Trust me! I’m workin’ on him. A greater part of that problem is the KCSAO repeatedly failed to take my advice as to whom should be appointed as board attorney. You have to understand the Chairman to effectively deal with him.

      8. As to his expenses, I routinely wrote that Karen McConnaughy should be getting AT LEAST 150 grand a year, and not the paltry $95,000 she was making at the time. You may have noted that she and I weren’t on each other’s Christmas card list, either. So, $12,000 in reimbursements since 2012 for the Chairman? I’m OK with that.

      9. You’re wrong about Rob Sauceda, too! Did he lack the kind of personal judgement one would expect from someone in that position? Yes he did! But did he trounce two separate McConnaughay appointees in returning Animal Control to a self-funding status? Yes he did! His professional term was exemplary, it was his personal decisions that were a disaster.

      10. Again, I have consistently pointed out and made fun of the Chairman’s foibles. That’s how we met. And it isn’t a matter of blaming his detractors, it’s the whole, let he who is without (major) sin throw the first stone. Considering what the Democratic supermajority has done to Illinois, I’d rather State Rep Kifowit worry about her own house than chime in on anyone else’s.

      As it is with former Elgin City Councilman John Prigge, whom I consider to be a very good friend, if you can take Jeff Ward’s truth telling on a regular basis – and you don’t mince words about who you are – then I’m OK with you!

      With your permission sir, I’d like to move this point-counterpoint to Quick Hits proper tomorrow! Let me know.

      Jeff

  5. Pingback: Quick Hits – On the herding of cats – The First Ward

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