Oh lord! You try to give someone some reasonable advice and they dive so deeply into the Einsteinian definition of insanity that they do just the opposite.
Not only did I provide Kane County Coroner Rob Russell with the keys to the getting a new morgue kingdom, but I was quietly working with some County Board members in an effort to get Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen to see the merit in dispensing with this recurring nightmare once and for all.
But after Russell invited a Chronicle reporter to his facility and further encouraged Fourth Ward Geneva Alderman Jeanne McGowan to persist in her one-woman crusade for a new building, in the immortal words of that great philosopher Roxette, “It’s over now.”
Because no county chairman on the planet will reward a countywide elected official for consistently trying to embarrass them in public, and I firmly believe this is Chris Lauzen’s last term, there will be no new morgue.
But before we move on to the second half of our story, please allow me to clearly stipulate that I like Ms. McGowan, if for no other reason than her ADHD makes mine pale in comparison. After she was first elected, I took the time to sit down with her, and I found her to be genuine and to genuinely care about her hometown.
But she has no clue what it means to be a city councilman. Of course, neither do Geneva Aldermen Mike Bruno, Tara Bourghart, Mike Clements, or Robert Swanson, but that’s beside the point,
And the clearest indication of that cluelessness is, when Chairman Lauzen responded to Ms. McGowan’s coroner concerns by accurately indicating she should worry about her own ward, McGowan explained, “I toured the coroner’s office as a citizen and taxpayer of Kane County, not in my role as an alderman.”
Sigh! Do I really have to explain this again?
When you become an elected official – a choice – you lose the luxury of being a private citizen until you no longer are an elected official. To wit, Geneva alderman are Geneva aldermen 24/7 whether they like it or not.
So, when Ms. McGowan inserted herself into the morgue debacle, not only did she do so as a card-carrying Geneva City Councilman, but she brought the entire city council along with her. And if Geneva needs something from Kane County Building A going forward, it probably won’t end well.
Before you give me any crap, I simply report the rules, I don’t make them.
McGowan’s Coroner concerns would’ve carried a lot more weight had she simply approached the Chairman to voice her concerns privately. C’mon! That’s the first or second rule of local politics.
The problem with an elected official going public in this regard is, you better damn well have your own house in order before you take that political risk. It’s the whole glass houses and throwing stones kind of thing. And when you think about the vast problem that is the City of Geneva, I’m surprised Ms. McGowan has any time or energy left to tackle county issues.
To illustrate my point, my hometown is beset by:
1. A mayor that uses the entire city staff – on company time – to get reelected. Though, to be fair, a napless four year-old could’ve beaten challenger Tom Simonian.
2. A police force that’s so out-of-control that officers are having sex with each other on duty.
3. A city council that consistently approves expensive new hires while the Mayor insists on raising taxes.
4. A city manager who purposely and illegally withholds information from the city council.
5. A streets department that can’t contend with the smallest of snowstorms.
6. An utter lack of attention to the sewer and streets infrastructure, which are crumbling.
7. A pension problem that’s gonna blow up in all our faces.
8. A drug problem that makes Charlie Sheen look like a piker.
The bottom line is, as far as any new Kane County Coroner facility goes, might I suggest gas masks until 2021, because that’s the best you’re gonna get from this County Board.