The First Ward Report – August 17, 2021

The First Ward Report – August 17, 2021

Let’s catch up with the fallout and follow up from some of our more recent news topics!

Pierog attempts to preempt The First Ward

As a result of recently emailing Kane County Chairman Corinne Pierog for comment on her vast COVID relief fund hypocrisy, she turned to her personal propaganda proposition, Kane County Connects, in an effort to preempt the impending bad publicity.

In that Connects piece on that $103 million in American Rescue Plan COVID relief funds the Chairman actually flippin’ had the nerve to say this:

We cannot rush this process. Before we make any decisions regarding the American Rescue Plan funds or how much money will be allocated to those eligible, we must first ensure proper management and fiscal oversight of the entire process. These initial steps are critical to ensure that all voices are heard and that we have in place a fair and proper process.

Really? That certainly wasn’t her philosophy when she went after former Chairman Chris Lauzen, Auditor Terry Hunt, and Treasurer Dave Rickert, blaming them for everything short of the war in Afghanistan.

So, suddenly now “We can’t rush the process?”

Then Pierog had the nerve to brag about hiring a consulting firm and project manager “To ensure compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements related to the disbursement of $103 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.”

She just loves to spend your money, doesn’t she?

Ain’t it funny how Lauzen, Rickert, and Hunt had no problem managing the distribution of the previous $93 million themselves. But because Pierog, Treasurer Kilbourne, and Auditor Wegman have no real fiscal or political management experience, we’re paying their six-figure salaries in addition to the freight for the project manager and consulting firm.

Don’t forget, Pierog’s and the County Board’s current “plan” is to keep 84 percent of that $103 million for themselves. So, I’m kinds curious what any consultant would actually do. Perhaps they’ll write a six-word report consisting of “Yep! Keep the cash for yourselves!”

You’re not fooling anyone Corinne! You’re in so far over your head that it’s only going to get worse. This is exactly the kind of thing that will happen when the voters “hire” a Chairman whose previous political experience consists of serving on the St. Charles School Board.

 

Auditor Wegman is at it again!

Undaunted by all the negative political and press pushback from her ill-advised attack on Kane County IT Director Roger Fahnestock over expenses she approved as a county board member, Auditor Penny Wegman is at it again. This time, she’s trying to make a name for herself in the papers over a County cellphone bill nonissue.

To her credit, she did discover that Kane County is paying $4,412 a month for zero-usage and $860 a month for minimal use cellphones. While we certainly don’t want to see any of our tax dollars wasted, when you consider that $5,160 comes out to just 0.02 percent of County’s monthly expenditures, I’m really not gonna get all that excited about it.

Ah! But Wegman did, because shortly after posting that audit on the Auditor’s website – something the former Auditor NEVER would’ve done, just like clockwork, she ran directly to Brenda Schory and the Kane County Chronicle.

As you might imagine, the Chronicle ran with the non-story because that “newspaper” has no real journalists left.

“This is the difference between an immature politician and a professional,” a county auditor told me, “This simple issue should’ve been resolved internally among all the departments and elected officials to avoid further needless embarrassment.”

Fahnestock, who’s IT department is responsible for all County cellphones, responded to the audit thusly, “I agree that there is a need for a policy or policies.” He added:

I believe this would require a group effort including Purchasing, Finance, Human Resources, IT Department, State’s Attorney, Auditor, and Treasurer. I think that the policy would certainly apply to departments but the application of the policy to elected officials would present challenges. I also believe that a policy is only as good as the enforcement mechanism. How would we enforce the policy? Would the enforcement of the policy require additional overhead, staff, and management?

That certainly sounds reasonable to me! So, aside from yet more self-aggrandizement, what was Wegman’s point in making this very minor issue and audit abundantly public?

The inevitable consequence of Wegman running to the Chronicle with every last “tidbit” will be that no county department or elected official will be willing to cooperate with her for fear of being publicly embarrassed. And that absurd self-inflicted wound will make the Auditor’s Office far less effective going forward.

All that said, the truly terrifying thing is, I’m sure Ms. Wegman will top herself in short order.

 

Pierog’s “accountability?”

When Pierog was campaigning in the summer of 2020, the Chronicle followed her around like a little tiny lapdog printing her every word, including, but not nearly limited to her regular declarations on “accountability.”

Here’s a perfect example, “It is obvious that the current leadership [Lauzen administration] would rather blame others and belittle critics than deliver for the county. I am looking forward to bringing accountability back to the Chair’s office.”

Really? Because I’ve emailed Chairman Pierog at least three times over the last two weeks asking her to explain any of the following:

  1. Why she’s taking so long to distribute that $103 million in COVID relief funds.
  2. Her flip flop on how much time that process should take.
  3. Why she needs to hire a project manager and a consulting firm to get the job done.
  4. How the County can possibly justify keeping $86 million of it for themselves.
  5. Will she take Auditor Wegman to task for her insistence on needlessly embarrassing the County and Roger Fahnestock?

But despite her previous sanctimonious proclamations, the Chairman has been even quieter than Mike Lindell at a voting machine symposium. So, I’m guessin’ that kind of the-buck-stops-here dynamic only applies to other politicians.

Chairman! You can start “bringing accountability back” any time now.

 

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