Oh lord! You try to give someone some reasonable advice and they decide to dive so deeply into the Einsteinian definition of insanity that they do just the opposite.
Not only did I provide Kane County Coroner Rob Russel 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 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 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 onto the second half of our story, please allow me to clearly stipulate that I like Ms. McGowan, if for no other reason that 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, but 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 replied, “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 it again?
When you become an elected official – which is 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 delved 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 in the near future, it probably won’t go very well for them.
McGowan’s Coroner concerns would’ve carried a lot more weight if she simply had approached the Chairman privately. C’mon! That’s the first or second rule of local politics.
The problem with a politician going public in this regard is, you better damn well have your own house in order before you take that kind of risk. It’s the whole glass houses and throwing stones 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 best by:
1. A mayor who uses the entire city staff – on company time – to get reelected. Though, to be fair, a 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.
7. A pension problem that’s gonna blow up in all our faces.
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.