With the end of his term looming so large, wouldn’t you think Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon would want to make every effort to leave that office without presiding over yet another one of his infamous debacles? Isn’t there something to be said for a graceful exit?
But alas, no! The man who brought us:
- A sexual harassment scandal that essentially ended his tenure.
- A $5.6 million lawsuit settlement in addition to the rehab center being inserted into Campton Hills.
- The failure to review an AFSCME labor contract which cost the county $1.2 million.
- McMahon and his top prosecutors were off prosecuting the Laquan McDonald case to the tune of 60 grand a month in KC taxpayer dollars. Then he had the nerve to ask the County board for more prosecutors!
- An absurd KCSAO rock bottom morale based turnover that meant lost cases and thousands of unnecessary training dollars. One prosecutor quit by leaving a sticky note on his supervisor’s door.
- A plethora of six-figure lawsuit settlements that should’ve been vigorously defended, particularly in the Sheriff’s Office.
- The County’s liability insurance doubled as a result of the failure to fight those lawsuits.
So, is it really any surprise that McMahon’s parting gift to his constituents is a $1 million loss in marijuana tax revenue? That greatest hits collection may well put Taylor Swift’s to shame!
And once again, it was perpetually incompetent Civil Division Head, Joe Lulves, who failed to file the appropriate paperwork. The good news is, Joe’s retiring today at midnight – it was originally November 30th – which begs the question, retiring from what? Doing nothing and screwing up when he does do something? Can someone actually retire from either one of those things?
Of course, as is par for the course, when County Chairman Chris Lauzen pointed out what was clearly another Lulves lapse, Lulves sent another pouting pot and kettle letter to the press and every last County Board member claiming it was Lauzen who was engaging in another round of finger pointing. Why, he even went as far as piously insisting he’d already sent the Chairman a series of memos regarding the pot paperwork.
But he didn’t provide those memos, either.
And that’s rather odd because the funny thing about that pesky Freedom of Information Act statute is, public entities have to hold on to every last email for quite some time. So, Joe! If you actually did send those memos, all you have to do produce them, right?
It’s really that simple.
Please tell me why the Bard’s “the attorney doth protest too much, methinks” suddenly come to mind? And here’s the delicious irony in all of this!
You see, when the Chairman was involved in a summer kerfuffle with the County Board over a highly paid employee working remotely from Minnesota, those very same County Board members sought Lulves’ advice. And shortly thereafter, they sent Lauzen a letter containing the following passage:
Pursuant to the Kane County Code, you have no authority to direct the day-to-day operations and conduct of the County Departments, nor do you have the authority to direct or supervise the work of department heads. Your authority and duties are limited, specifically to presiding over the meetings of the Kane County Board and other duties as assigned by the Board
As Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating, Jim!”
Even the Daily Herald, a paper that holds endless grudges and can’t even spell the words “due diligence,” noted that Lulves and the Board were hoist by their own legal petard. That means those board members are just as responsible for this failure as Lulves is. They may have claimed their staff supervisory “powers” last summer, but they obviously have no intention of acting upon them. And since the Chairman’s been told he can’t legally manage them, no one’s doing it right now!
So, while the County Board and the State’s Attorney’s Office battle this one out in all sorts of inevitably fascinating ways, the one thing we can say with certainty is Chairman Lauzen’s off the hook because the County Board told him so!
And so did the Daily Herald, which clearly means the end times must be near.
But what really fries my bacon is, despite this endless list of debacles, if you put Joe McMahon in front of the press – his greatest love in life – he’ll wax poetically about the great job he and his office have done. You’d think someone who regularly deals with evidence would have a far greater grip on reality.
In light of everything we’ve already discussed, there’s only one thing left to say. And that is, in the eminently sage words of one of my favorite friends, “Hey Joe! As you leave the Judicial Center on your last day, don’t let the screen door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, that one always makes me verklempt!