Yes! I know we’ve beaten the subject to death, but when you consider the Kane County Chronicle’s gross sensationalist misconduct, it becomes even more important to note the government distinctions they willfully chose to ignore. Because if you don’t begin to understand how your government truly functions, they’ll either fleece you, the taxpayer, at every turn, or every perceived “malfeasance” turns into the worst kind of conspiracy theory.
If you need to catch up with the rest of us, may I humbly suggest availing yourself of parts one and two. Suffice it to say we’re still talking about that 58 grand in (mostly) P-card tuition reimbursement benefitting one Kane County IT department employee.
For references purposes, P-cards, or “purchase cards,” are low-limit credit cards issued to the countywide elected officials and department heads so they can make timely purchases without enduring the often-onerous purchase order process. P-cards can also be used for larger expenses – like tuition – but then they require county board approval and ultimately get passed along to the auditor.
1. The board approved them 17 times
That’s really the bottom line here, isn’t it? Virtually nothing happens in Kane County government without the County Board expressly approving it first, and as we’ve already discussed at length, that same Board voted “yes” on those tuition payments seventeen separate times.
Please don’t try and give me any “those payments were part of the consent agenda” and thus, “the Board didn’t know what they were approving” crap because it’s absolutely no excuse. Those mopes get $25,000 a year PLUS Cadillac health insurance benefits for what turns out to be an eminently part-time job. And if they can’t be bothered to reasonably review the monthly bills then they need to step down in favor of someone who will.
2. The consent agenda WAS regularly reviewed
For the uninitiated, every last local governing body approves regular and repeating expenses via the “bulk” method known as the “consent agenda.” They do it this way because if even the smallest municipality voted on every line item individually, city council meetings would last at least ten hours. But prior to that bulk vote, any trustee/councilman/board member can pull any item off the consent agent to have it be reviewed.
That’s exactly what happened when County Board member Myrna Molina questioned former Chairman Chris Lauzen’s purchase of $50 book on “block chain” technology. Of course, that absurdly minor expense actually made it into the Kane County Chronicle, too.
Yep! There’s nothing quite like reporting on an expense that adds up to all of 0.00002 percent of the County budget!
Though her intention was to try and trip up the former Chairman, my point is that Molina correctly poured over each and every County line item before each and every county board meeting. And that, Dear Reader, renders the “it was on the consent agenda” argument completely moot. The Board was well aware of those tuition reimbursement payments and they approved every single one of them!
3. The Board’s response? An illegal resolution!
Normally I’d say something about the goddamn idiot Democrats failing to comprehend any form of government reality, but I can’t do that this time because Board vice-chairman and Don King impersonator, Ken Shepro, actually knows the law, and he damn well knows their new tuition reimbursement policy is just about as worthless as the virtual paper it isn’t printed on.
To be fair, it will apply to the departments directly under the Chairman, but once their budget is set and approved, the Internal Control Statue forbids the Board from constraining the countywide elected officials’ spending in any way shape or form. And they comprise the vast majority of the budget.
What that means is, if the state’s attorney decided to dedicate her budget to weekly masquerade parties, there’s nothing the Chairman or County Board can do about it other than pray that the voters send her packing in the next election cycle.
So, while the Chronicle just loves to trumpet how they got the County to revise their tuition reimbursement policy, because that policy includes countywide offices, as soon as the Board approves it the State’s Attorney will strike it down faster than Mark Zuckerberg can hide in his basement crawlspace.
On second thought, perhaps Shepro should sleep through more county board meetings.
4. Schory starts a rumor!
Apparently unhappy with simply misrepresenting the facts, fake Chronicle reporter Brenda Schory is single-handedly spreading a baseless rumor that IT Director Roger Fahnestock issued those tuition reimbursement payments in an effort to secure illicit favors from the young female employee.
First, that only demonstrates that Schory has no shame or moral center of any kind.
And second, if you were trying to hide an affair with an employee, the last thing you’d do is put any “quid-pro-quo” on a P-card where the auditor would almost certainly most likely catch on to them. You’d bury them in your budget instead.
No wonder the Daily Herald let Schory go.
5. An incompetent Chairman and absurd County Board
In the end, this all comes down to Chairman Corinne Pierog’s vast incompetence borne of her sum total previous experience consisting of serving on the St. Charles School Board. And without a real leader, this Board is turning into the worst iteration I’ve ever covered. Now, they’re planning on raising your taxes, too – in the COVID era when everyone’s still hurting.
Oh! And the same board that chided the previous administration for failing to swiftly disburse the first round of COVID relief funds has now taken twice as long to distribute nothing from the second.
Board member Drew Frasz was quite vocal about it back then, but now he’s even quitter than Urban Meyer after spotting security cameras at Applebees. What’s up Drew?
Worse yet, the Board’s plan continues to consist of ignoring all the social service agencies and businesses that took a major hit during the plague and keeping that $103 million for themselves, something the Chronicle has completely failed to cover because they seem to think tuition reimbursement is the real problem!