The First Ward Report – Same as it ever was – Part 2!

The First Ward Report – Same as it ever was – Part 2!

When we last left off, the Joker and his henchman had Batman and Robin trapped in the abandoned warehouse…wait a minute! I may have gotten a wee bit off track here! Though in the end, that classic 60’s Batman analogy may turn out to be far more applicable than you might think!

Kane County Board

We were actually discussing how easy it is to predict the persistent propensities of local governing bodies based on the length of time the “leader” (chairman/mayor/president) has served. Please refer back to part one if you require a quick refresher.

Then, after some in-depth coverage of that phenomenon, we moved on to a couple of recent Kane County Board kerfuffles that certainly seem to support our theory.

The first fight began with the original Kane County Task Force’s June effort to develop a reasonable distribution plan for the $93 million the County received in federal coronavirus relief funds. And if that isn’t a proposition fraught will all manner of political peril, I don’t know what is!

The opening salvo was fired by one of those eminently predictable Cindy Brady board members who just had to run to State’s Attorney Joe McMahon and tattle on Chairman Chris Lauzen for a perceived Open Meetings violation.

But unlike President Trump, the Task Force, headed up by crack Kane county Auditor Terry Hunt, wasn’t bypassing the Board so they could dole out money to friends and family. No! They were appropriately endeavoring to narrow the possibilities before handing the process off to the Board’s Executive Committee as the law requires.

And those kinds of non-binding private group deliberations are NOT prohibited by the Open Meetings Act.

Of course, as is par for the course, our “hold-my-beer” State’s Attorney couldn’t help but issue yet another stern missive, this one warning the Chairman of the dire consequences of any OMA infraction. And as you might imagine, this utterly unnecessary move sent the proceedings directly into a cacophony of contentiousness.

The kinda fun irony there is, if the Board wants to blame anyone for that supposed secrecy, they need look no further than little old me! With a more-than-reasonable grasp of the OMA and FOIA statutes, I’m the one who advised the Task Force that they were well within the bounds of the law and to keep their cards as close to their collective chests for as long as possible.

Consider all the shrieking and howling the would’ve ensued had the Task Force tried to convince each of those 24 board members of the efficacy of their $93 million allocation plan before it was complete! It would’ve descended directly into the kind of abject nightmare that would’ve made the Chicago riots pale in comparison.

Convinced this supposed “secrecy” was the surest sign of foul play, and prodded by the usual anti-Lauzen louts…I mean…suspects, this early July Kane Mutiny saw the Board rise up to demand the distribution process be handed over to them forthwith!

Ironically, this mutiny occurred just as the Task Force was ready to turn it over to the Board, and when they saw Hunt’s well-considered plan, they got kinda quiet and thanked him for his hard work.

That swift 180 is quite reminiscent my favorite Emily Litella catch phrase, “Oh! That’s very different. Never mind!”

But now, through a vast board ego, a failure to understand procedural rules, an inability to grasp the enormity of the task, an infinite animosity towards the Chairman, and an absurd lack of faith in some fine elected officials, the Kane County Board not only embarrassed themselves, but expended an immense amount of unnecessary time, effort, and agida in the process.

It’s this kind of self-serving public positioning that drives board and city council “leaders” to a certain “crankiness” in their second term. To wit, go back to those board meeting videos and watch Theresa Barreiro regularly blurt out potential press quotes until the Chairman was forced to threaten her with removal if she persisted in purposely ignoring protocol.

And the Chairman’s supposed to be the problem?

Then, after all the dire proclamations about the need to swiftly disburse these COVID funds, this new seven-board-member committee, generally directed by the State’s Attorney, are taking their own sweet time in finalizing the process.

With our third irony failing to go unnoticed, some of their peers are now referring to that gaggle as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” with McMahon playing the title role. Perhaps they’d get a lot more done if they stopped whistling while they worked! I’d point out which board member is playing which dwarf, but since some of my best friends are board members, I’ll leave it to your imagination.

In the end, all this repeating-the-same-thing-while-expecting-a-different-result insanity is the result of an absurd antipathy towards a second-term leader on the part of the followers who, harboring no self-reflective capacity whatsoever, don’t begin to realize they’re behaving far worse than anyone else involved.

This is why, until they legalize homicide, I WILL NEVER run for office.

Yikes! It looks like this is gonna turn out to be a three-parter. That means we’ll cover the morass known as the Kane County Workforce Development Board and the related fracas on Friday. Until then…

4 thoughts on “The First Ward Report – Same as it ever was – Part 2!

  1. Jeff, I love you,(
    in a brotherly way) I can’t stop reading your discourses without a smile and appreciation someone is watching the sausage making that is our politics around us. Thank you.

    1. Right back atcha James! And the fourth irony is, these columns where I accurately describe how local government works, are some of my least popular pieces. People would rather scream about their city council than try to understand it!

  2. While Lauzen has generally reaped what he has sown, in the issue with the Open Meetings and a possible violation, I believe he was correct. I had no issue with preliminary work being done before handing it off to the decision making body. I still don’t understand how the State Attorney perceived that as a potential violation. More concerning to me was the time it has taken. This should have been handled more efficiently by all involved.

  3. Will,

    It’s not that McMahon thought there was a violation, but once a board member complains about the possibility, he feels the need to address it. Were I in his shoes, I would’ve said bring me proof and then I’ll address it.


Leave a Reply