Could the Metra Board appointment get any worse!
And the simple answer to that simple question is, “Yes! It could!,” because it just did.
When we last left off, despite abundant advanced warning, Kane County Chairman Corinne Pierog and her lackluster County Board appointed Burlington Northern employee and former County Board member Matt Hansen to that $15,000 a year plum patronage proposition known as the Metra Board.
But before the ink could dry on those nomination papers, the fine folks at Metra embarrassed the Chairman and the Board with a dire missive explaining that its patently illegal for transportation employees to serve on their board.
After the whole thing blew up in their collective faces, Elgin State Senator Cristina Castro made a more than reasonable suggestion. “Why not appoint a minority?” she told the Boad. “Why not?” I thought! That would certainly bring some badly needed balance to the Kane County representational force.
At least Hanson had the requisite railroad experience, but once he was relegated to afterthought status, it meant that Pierog and her lackeys had to start from scratch. And wouldn’t you think they’d make a point of doing better the second time?
Nope! Because who did they manage to come up with this round? Wait for it…former Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon! Apparently, Kane Countians need yet another white Republican Tri-Cities male to represent them.
First, aside from taking a train, what transportation experience could Mr. McMahon possibly possess? Barring that, the perpetually indebted railroad could always use board members with a strong financial background, but McMahon’s sorely lacking there, too.
Is this really the best we can do?
Meanwhile, McMahon fervently believed the state’s attorney gig – a job he never really wanted – and the Jason Van Dyke prosecution would propel him straight into the LaSalle Street law firm stratosphere. But in a fine karmic twist, he’s right back where he started with Griffin, Williams, McMahon and Walsh right here in good old Geneva!
That’s gotta be a lot like that proverbial kissing-your-sister tie.
He must not be bringing in many clients, either, because if he was, he wouldn’t need to suck yet another 15 grand a year from the Kane County taxpayers teat. As my favorite TV judge likes to say, “Que hombre más sinvergüenza!”
It’s not a conspiracy, man!
When did stupidity became our national pastime? On second thought, don’t answer that because it would be far too depressing.
As it turns out, both Elgin and Dundee Townships are facing the same referendum conundrum. They put mental health referenda on the ballot, the measures passed, but now the Kane County Clerk will not collect those taxes.
And all those fine Democratic township folk are fully convinced this is nothing more than a rabid Republican conspiracy intended to rob them of every last civil right! Why, Dundee Township was so incensed they’re gonna sue Jack Cunningham to force him to collect that cash.
All I can say is, good luck with that!
So, here’s what really happened!
Both Townships followed the letter of the Illinois referendum law when they crafted their ballot questions, but the problem is there are two such statutes, only one matters, and our illustrious township trustees chose poorly!
The basic statutory referenda question verbiage makes no mention of including the specific tax hike percentage involved, but the property tax ordinance does. And despite this legal conflict, Illinois court precedent makes it clear that latter requirement always prevails.
C’mon! How hard is it to believe that the generally inept and beyond corrupt state of Illinois would leave conflicting ordinances on the books? I’d actually be a lot more surprised if they didn’t!
So, while this snafu isn’t solely Elgin’s and Dundee’s fault, all they had to do was seek the services of ask any reasonable municipal attorney – or yours truly – and they would’ve quickly realized they needed to include the tax hike percentage amount in the question for it to be valid
But no! It’s much more fun to do the wrong thing and roundly bitch about it later
And suing the Kane County Clerk for not collecting the tax? He doesn’t have standing to reverse the decision! It was the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office who told Jack to let those taxes go because they knew the referenda would be challenged, the challengers would win, and any money collected would have to go right back to the homeowners.
This is one of the few things our nascent State’s Attorney has actually gotten right!
So, lick your wounds, drop the lawsuits, get the question right, and the referenda will pass next time. But in the meantime, would you all do me a short-term favor? Please come to grips with the notion that township trustees are not nearly important enough to be the center of any conspiracy.
And I thought I had an ego!
It’s only your money!
If you’ve been following along, it’s been more than seven weeks since Kane County State’s Attorney Civil Division head Michelle Niermann placed Director of Human Resources Sylvia Wetzel on administrative leave pending the results of her witch hunt…I mean “independent investigation.”
Though I’m sure it doesn’t feel like a vacation to Ms. Wetzel, that means the Kane County taxpayer is on the hook for that six-figure salary whether she’s in the office or not.
Meanwhile, the “independent” law firm conducting the inquiry has easily racked up six-figures in legal fees, and we’re on the hook for those bills, too, despite the fact they haven’t – and won’t be able to – come up with any wrongdoing.
This one took some time, but I’ve finally managed to come up with the whole story. And as soon as a couple of sources give the green light, I’ll be more than happy to enlighten you here.
What I can say is the only word that can truly describe this sad scenario is “clusterfuck.” The left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing, and the mythology that’s making the rounds as a result this witch hunt can only be called “epic.”
My prediction! By the time it’s over it will cost taxpayers close to half-a-million dollars and Ms. Wetzel will be fully reinstated. Clearly, the Kane County State’s Attorney has no problem spending other peoples’ money.
And didn’t States Attorney Mosser just ask for a $2.7 million budget increase right in the middle of the COVID era? It would seem she’s gonna do a lot more investigatin’!