When we last left off, we were describing Kane County Chairman Corinne Pierog’s persistent hypocrisy in her so far disastrous attempt to distribute the second $103 million round of COVID relief cash. After errantly accusing the previous administration of moving too slowly and hoarding those first funds, that’s exactly what she and the current board are doing with the new money.
Determined to learn every last lesson the hard way, the Chairman has suddenly discovered that you can’t get 24 nuns to come up with a timely and equitable plan for dispensing that amount of cash. And Pierog can’t count on Auditor Penny Wegman to help her out, either, because as this journalist pointed out back in 2020, she has all the political skills and fiscal acumen of an Irish setter.
So, you’d think Ms. Wegman would do her damndest to maintain a low profile and keep her vast deficiencies under wraps, But no! Just like it is with that proverbial fool, her overarching political philosophy is to regularly open her mouth and remove all doubt.
On Auditor Wegman’s profound brand of narcissism
Before we get started, let’s stipulate that a County P-card, or “purchase card” is a low-limit credit card provided to department heads to make small purchases without being bogged down by the purchase order approval process. P-cards can be used for larger purchases, but then they require county board approval, and once approved, the official OK gets passed along to the auditor – most of the time.
Ah! But it would seem that the approval for a four-year $58,000 IT department DeVry University expense never quite made it to the auditor’s office. Firmly believing she’d finally stumbled upon a means of justifying her utterly unremarkable existence, Wegman unilaterally abrogated the entirety of county protocol in making it glaringly public.
According to a nearby county auditor, Wegman’s first step should’ve been to go directly to IT department head, Roger Fahnestock, and say “Hey Roger! I’ve run across some DeVry bills with no board approval. Was that an oversight?” Roger would’ve said “Yes it was! Here’s the paperwork,” and that would’ve been the end of it.
Had there been some suspected nefariousness after contacting the IT department, Wegman should’ve gone to the Chairman to discuss whether the State’s Attorney’s Office needed to get involved. But no!
Instead, Wegman sent an email to all 24 board members directly accusing Fahnestock of P-card malfeasance, she went directly to the States Attorney, and then she ran to the Kane County Chronicle in an effort to raise her non-existent political profile.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, since those Chronicle publishers and editors can’t even spell the words “due diligence,” fake journalist Brenda Schory ran with the story without bothering to confirm any part of it.
Meanwhile, it took this journalist all of two five-minute calls to determine that every one of those 15 charges were approved at four – count ‘em – four separate county board levels including:
- The Administration Committee
- The Finance Committee
- The Executive Committee
- The full Board
But here’s the pasty resistance. Do you want to hazard a guess as to who personally voted to approve each and every one of those 15 payments? That’s right! Former Kane County Board Member Penny Wegman. What have I been telling you about truth and fiction?
So, instead of solving this with a couple of quick calls, Wegman needlessly embarrassed the County, Chairman Pierog, the County Board, the IT department, the Chronicle, Brenda Schory, and most of all, herself. Though truth be told, a great deal of the Chronicle’s embarrassment was clearly self-inflicted.
But as bad as all of this is, there’s a bigger problem here. You see, in a 20-year past life this writer was a database/business consultant for the following Fortune 500 companies:
- Morton Salt
- Philips Electronics
and others. Of the dozens of IT directors I’ve worked with, Roger Fahnestock is the best, and this absurd and baseless attack on him, just to give a hapless auditor’s empty life temporary meaning, may well drive him to seek employment in the private sector where he’d make twice as much as he makes now.
And I know he’s the real deal because I worked closely with Roger on a number of IT projects when I was employed by the County Clerk’s office. That also means I personally can attest that Roger’s loss would have dire consequences for every Kane County department.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Chronicle feasted on a large plate of crow when they had to report that those P-card expenses were perfectly legit. Much like it is with Wegman, it would seem that Schory never tires of embarrassing herself and the Chronicle, either. Birds of a feather, right?
Even after she firmly inserted her foot into her mouth, Wegman doubled down by telling Schory that she “stands by her audit.” You mean the one where you challenged 15 expenses that you personally approved as a Board member, Penny?
Not only did the Chronicle fail to call her out for the worst kind of wolf crying, but in a failing effort to obfuscate their inexplicable lapse and culpability, Schory said the Chronicle was FOIAing “all of the County’s DeVry expenses.” It would seem that Brenda won’t be happy until she wastes absolutely everyone’s time!
Ah well! Everyone has to be good at something!
Oh! I almost forgot! There’s some doubt as to whether this P-card “audit” was actually Wegman’s work. Given her abject lack of accounting skills, in addition to her $100,000 salary, Kane County taxpayers are currently coughing up another 100 grand a year so outside auditors and consultants can do the job that former Auditor Terry Hunt managed to do on his own.
At this sad point, let’s dispense with all the satire and pretense and just tell it like it is. This is exactly what you get when you elect a complete idiot without the background, the experience, the intelligence, and the least bit of political acumen to a major county office.
And you know exactly who told you so, too!