McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
If you want to know what is wrong with local government, you need not look any further than James Kelly's answer to our FOIA lawsuit which contains a declaration by the Supervisor, under penalties of perjury, that everything in the Answer is true and correct, with a qualifier for certain statements. See Answer below or click here.
Within this Answer are some very telling points that we suspect the public might have an interest in knowing and although there is a books worth of material to write about, we are going to stick to two points from the filing and comments made by the Attorney at one of the hearings.
From the Answer to the Complaint:-
- The Township Clerk position has limited duties at the Township and was scheduled to be at the Township for the regular monthly meeting, bid openings, and one afternoon per week.
- On information and belief sometime between May 5, 2017, and June 1, 2017, unauthorized access was made to the Algonquin Township Clerk's office and records were removed.
The Township Clerk receives compensation of $18,492.88 a year for these "limited duties". Excluding bid openings which take little time, monthly meetings and one afternoon per week comes with a hefty price tag for a Clerk. A review of board minutes during Karen Lukasik's current term makes it impossible to figure out how much time is spent at Board meetings as she fails to record the time the meetings end in the minutes.
Reviewing past minutes it appears these meetings rarely take more than an hour and in some cases as little as 20 minutes. For the sake of this article, since Lukasik fails to record the time of adjournment, we used 2016 board meetings as a guide. In 2016, meetings took an average of fifty minutes per meeting for a whopping 10.86 hours of time at the actual meeting.
Add that to an assumed zero vacation time for the Clerk and 4 hours a week for the year, fifty-two weeks a year, she would have worked 218.86 hrs not counting bid openings. If she takes a vacation from that burdensome schedule of one afternoon a week, then even fewer hours are worked.
Is $84.50 an hour for a person that has limited duties fair to the taxpayer?
We ask because we see statewide, compensation being set for elected officials without any cost-benefit analysis at all. They just look at what it was in the past and go from there. Considering the Clerk has limited duties, where is the discussion as to what those limited duties are really worth?
Even more telling as to how bad things are in Algonquin Township, these so-called limited duties were so overwhelming for the Clerk that she contracted a person to help her, in violation of law, all with the Attorney's assistance. Once that was exposed, the board properly appointed a person to help her but is now paying that person in violation of the law as the resolution appointing him makes no mention of the pay, which is required to be set by the Board. The attorney was present at the meeting during this action and failed to address the matter.
Assuming this hired Deputy Clerk makes $15.00 an hour, the taxpayers of Algonquin Township would be on the hook for right at $100 an hour for a position that has limited duties according to Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow.
I guess the Northwest Herald missed that story.
The dates referenced by Lutzow are most telling because it covers a time frame when there were two different clerks. Lutzow was the past clerk and Lukasik the current Clerk.
Unauthorized access points to either negligence or possible criminal action. Considering both past and present Clerk's were in charge of the records of the township, were they negligent in their duties by allowing unauthorized access? If access was by key or access code, who had those keys and codes and who provided it to them?
Comments from James Kelly to our Attorney:
We must conclude this unauthorized access to records they now claim are missing was due to theft. We conclude that because James Kelly, attorney for the Township, has made what we consider defamatory statements against us pertaining to public records.
According to our Attorney, Kelly has stated that we are in possession of stolen property as it relates to our current 16 Count FOIA case against the Township and Road District. Such a statement to our Attorney is going to be very problematic for Kelly.
When we were adviced of this false accusation we filed an FOIA request with the Township seeking everything related to stolen public records being documented and reported to the police. Considering Attorney Kelly stated we possessed stolen property, we wanted to ensure such an alleged theft was properly reported to authorities.
The response was most telling and going to prove to be very problematic for a certain attorney:
"The Township does not have any documents responsive to this request. The FOIA officer for this response is the Algonquin Township Supervisor, Charles Lutzow."
So if the attorney is aware of stolen records and has the gall to claim we are in possession of stolen property is it out of line to ask why such a theft has not been reported to the police?
Considering the Township has no record of any such stolen property being reported to the police, is this yet another glaring example of incompetence by the Clerk, Supervisor, Board, and their attorney?
Who in their right mind does not report the theft of public property to the Police?
As we have mentioned in the past, we urge the Board to fire James Kelly as the attorney for Algonquin Township. We continue to call for the resignation of Karen Lukasik as well as the Township Supervisor.