“The Epitome of Conflict of Interest” – Backroom Politics

Chairwoman Tina Hill

Updated: 10:44AM – May 21

Recently McHenry County Chairwoman Tina Hill (Woodstock) said that board member Sandra Fay Salgado (McHenry) was “the epitome of conflict of interest”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real conflict of interest is Hill’s nominee of former Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County CEO and current board member Bob Martens (Spring Grove).

In my research about the Bob Martens nomination to Public Health & Human Services Committee (PH&HS) I have come across public documents that identify issues that concern the conflict of interest issue for this nominee.  These documents are readily available to the public which I am providing to you today.

All 501(c) organizations must file a form called a 990.  You can download 990s on file at www.guidestar.com with a free account (They are also linked to at the bottom of this article).  The Employer Identification Number (EIN) for Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County is: 36-2428268.  Please use this EIN when you conduct your verification of the data I am about to present to you.

Golden Parachute

Martens 2011 Retirement Pay

Bob Martens is listed is the “Former CEO”of the company.

Martens received a “generous” retirement bonus, a golden parachute, courtesy of the McHenry County Taxpayers in the amount of $126,721 in compensation from the organization (Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County) and $14,099 in other compensation from the organization and related organizations for a total of $140,820.

If you look above you will see he is the “Former CEO”.  Moreover, his replacement Lori Nelson only received $66,568.   In most instances when someone retires they get a percentage of their base pay, not 100 percent.  Moreover, the person usually taking over makes more than the person retiring.  This is not the case in this instance.

A Bad Loan

This same year the McHenry Mental Health Board gave a loan to Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County $719,981 when no other lending institution would do so because of the risk.  See below.

Family Services Loan

 

Questions

  1. Will this loan ever paid back to the taxpayers?
  2. Was this loan fiscally responsible to the taxpayers?
  3. Why did Martens receive this retirement bonus when his company required a loan that very same year to sustain business operations?  
  4. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to think that all monies loaned to the business be used to keep the business solvent and not used to pay former CEOs?  
  5. Would having Martens serve as the “liaison” between the county and the MHB not be the “epitome of a conflict of interest” as Hill has suggested?  
  6. Would any reasonable person, or taxpayer in McHenry County, look at this and say, “this is not right and is a backroom political arrangement”?

 

McHenry County Board Member and former CEO of Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County

Martens was the CEO for 34 years at Family Service and Mental Health Center, a 501(c)3.  Six months after his retirement the company ceased operations.  The Northwest Herald called the closure a “collapse”.   From the Northwest Herald:

Martens said he is confident his “team” would do just fine without him.

“It’s not just Bob Martens,” he (Martens) said. “It’s the team.”

Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County closed its doors in less than a year.

Should this person really be sitting on the PH&HS committee which provides direct oversight of the Mental Health Board?  Moreover, is there an explanation as to why Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County failed so quickly after his departure?

Pay Chart

Family Services & Community Mental Health Center for McHenry County received funding from several sources including the State of Illinois, Medicaid, and the McHenry County Mental Health Board (MHB).  How is this NOT a conflict of interest for Martens?

Click here to download the 2009 Family Services 990 in PDF format.
Click here to download the 2010 Family Services 990 in PDF format.
Click here to download the 2011 Family Services 990 in PDF format.

Political Discourse and Leadership

Some are upset with the political wrangling that has taken place between Hill and PH&HS Chairwoman Donna Kurtz.  Yes, mistakes have been made; but this is where people grow as leaders.  There will be plenty of time to conduct a post mortum on the events surrounding the Hill power grab and the response from Kurtz.

But right is right and wrong is wrong.

It is simply wrong to install someone with such an enormous conflict of interest  to which Martens has.  The Committee of the Whole will have an opportunity tomorrow night to agree or disagree.

Either way – the public now knows about this backroom deal… and some board members don’t like that.

Andrew’s Note:  Bob Martens is not being proposed to be the liaison between the McHenry County Board and the Mental Health Board like I previously stated. Martens would be assigned to the Public Health & Human Services Committee, the committee which has oversight over the Mental Health Board’s budget.  Either way, the conflict of interest is not abated. 

  • 4Truth

    I’m concerned the “back room deals ” are about insuring the real issues never get exposed. Your on the right track, Mr. Gasser. The public will start to connect the dots.