Transparency at the McHenry County Mental Health Board

mc-mental-healthYesterday the Finance Committee of the Mental Health Board met to discuss the potential of an audit.  Cal Skinner’s McHenry County Blog has a very good write up on the audit portion.  While it wasn’t the “full up” audit that I, personally, wanted – I do think it will be a step in the right direction.

However – what I would like to focus your attention on is on the list item up for action the agenda which you can download as a PDF.

708 Bill Pay Procedure

This was an open discussion of how bills were paid by the 708 Board.   I have scanned in the page from the packet handed out at the meeting that pertains to this agenda item. You can download it here in PDF format.

708 Finance Committee May 16, 2013 Item 3_Page_1

The discussion revolved around how the 708 Board itself would review the bills in order to become more transparent with the county and the public.  This should be commended by everyone.  Heavily discussed and ultimately approved was option two.  Option two requires all the bills to be approved by the board before mailing the check.

Mary McCann’s Concern

Mrs. Mary McCann, Chairwoman of Finance and Audit on the McHenry County Board.

Concerns were brought forward on this option by Mrs. Mary McCann (Woodstock), Chairwoman of the McHenry County Board Finance and Audit Committee  as well as Ms. Jane Wacker of the 708 Board Staff.

McCann’s concerns are about the county’s ability to be able to control such an influx of activity in such a short amount of time.  She is not sure if the capability was there or if it is something that Mrs. Pam Palmer (Union), McHenry County Auditor, will have to work on.

McCann does have a valid point.  Can the county handle this new process and improve transparency?  If the answer is yes, and it should be, then excellent – lets move on.  If the answer is no, then the people with power to fix the problem need to move with great haste.  

Mrs. Pam Palmer, McHenry County Auditor.

Leaders must look at the process or processes that are currently in place of how these bills from the 708 board are put through the vigorous financial checks and balances and then seek to improve them.  This should not be a problem that persists on for a month or more.    It may be a challenge but it should be welcomed with open arms.

We simply cannot give up because it is difficult.  And while this may not be the message the Chairwoman was trying to send it was the message that was being received, at least in the gallery.  

The truth is that the taxpayers really do not know what the capabilities and limitations of our county government are.  It isn’t something McCann knows either – and she shouldn’t have to.  That level of fidelity on the spot would be nice but we just do not know… but Palmer should know and I hope the Chairwoman asks the question quickly.  We all want answers but there is a process that needs to be followed and we will follow it.  And we all know the county board is all about following the process.

Jane Wacker’s Concerns

Wacker was concerned about the processes that would have to be put in place for the staff in order to execute such a plan.  Moreover, she was concerned if some of the providers didn’t file a claim by a certain date.

708 Trustee Rob Routzahn
Image Courtesy McHenry County Blog

The 708 board made the recommendation we start this as soon as possible.  This will allow Wacker and her leadership team to develop the processes and tools she needs to help make this happen.  She has a good team in place and there is a little time to make this happen.

Wacker’s other concern was billing to which Trustee Routzahn had a brilliant response.  He simply stated that if the bills didn’t get in on time they would not be paid on.  Imagine that – make sure you file your bill on or you will have to wait a month for your payment.  This is such a brilliant idea.

I think the concerns posed by McCann and Wacker are legitimate.  I also think these problems are solvable and quickly solvable.  The efforts put forth by those in the 708 Board Finance Committee are are very good start.  However, lets not kid ourselves.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done.

Melissa Sanchez Sworn in as New Algonquin Township Trustee

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Republican Algonquin Township Trustee Melissa Sanchez speaking with Township Supervisor Diane Klemm.

Melissa Sanchez (Lake in the Hills) was sworn in at high noon today by Township Supervisor Diane Klemm (Algonquin).  The 21 year old soon to be college graduate was surrounded by family and friends as she took the oath of office for the first time.  The ceremony took place in the township board room.

Earlier in the day Klemm had also taken her oath of office as she embarks on another term in office.  Before the ceremony Klemm briefly spoke about how excited she is to work with Sanchez. 

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Melissa Sanchez taking her oath of office.

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No job is finished until the paperwork is complete.

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The Sanchez Family.


Senger, McSweeney Resolution Condemns IRS, Demands Investigation

Senger, McSweeney Resolution Condemns IRS, Demands InvestigationBy Meredith VanKampen, Community Contributor
7:32 p.m. CDT, May 16, 2013

SPRINGFIELD – In the wake of the recent scandal regarding politically-motivated targeting by the Internal Revenue Service of conservative groups, State Representatives Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) and David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) today introduced a resolution condemning the IRS actions and demanding an investigation into the individuals involved in targeting Americans for their political views.

Recent reports indicate that starting in 2010, personnel of federal IRS, including high-ranking and supervisory personnel, singled out American individuals and groups based on their apparent political leanings. These groups have been denied or delayed recognition of their nonprofit standing based upon how these groups use certain identification words favored by political conservatives, including “Tea Party”, “patriot”, and “9/12”.

Photograph of  Representative  David McSweeney (R)“This is an outrageous violation of the trust that the American people have put in the federal government,” says McSweeney. “Any politically-motivated targeting of Americans by the IRS is intolerable and I expect a full investigation.”

“I think if there is something that we can all agree on here, it is that we want to find out the truth about what really happened at the IRS,” says Senger.

House Resolution 359 specifically commends the work of the United States Congress in investigating the threat to fundamental liberties and urges the White House, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and the IRS to comply with all requests related to Congressional inquiries without any delay.

For more information on House Resolution 359, please contact Rep. Darlene Senger at (630) 420-3008 or by email at sengerstaterep@gmail.com, and Rep. David McSweeney at (847) 516-0052 or by email at ilhouse52@gmail.com.

 

Another Broken Promise for McHenry County Board

PH&HS Agenda May 14 2013

Click to Download the Agenda

McHenry County Chairwoman Tina Hill (Woodstock), flanked by State’s Attorney Jana Blake, stood her ground today and will nominate an unnamed candidate to fill the vacancy at the Mental Health Board (McMHB) instead of accepting the nomination of the Public Health & Human Services (PH&HS) Committee.  Scott Summers, a Democrat, was defeated by 18-6 vote at the Committee of the Whole (COW) last week prompting Hill to use an obscure rule to nominate her yet to be announced candidate.  So much for transparency.

In attendance from the committee  were Donna Kurtz (Crystal Lake), John Hammerand (Wonder Lake), Sandy Salgado (McHenry), and Mike Walkup (Crystal Lake).  Noticeably absent from today’s meeting were Anna May Miller (Cary) (recovering from a car accident),  Paula Yensen (Lake in the Hills), and Mary McCann (Woodstock).  Also in attendance were county board members Ken Koehler (Crystal Lake), Bob Martens (Spring Grove), Diane Evertsen (Harvard), and Ersel Schuster (Woodstock).

Nominated to the McMHB by the committee is newly elected Crystal Lake Trustee and small businessman Jeff Thorsen who holds an MBA.  This is the second candidate put forward by the PH&HS Committee who has a strong business and financial background which is so desperately needed on the McHenry County Mental Health Board (McMHB).

The meeting opened with public comment.  Only Larry Emery, Algonquin Township Trustee, from Crystal Lake addressed the committee.  He quickly spoke of the problems facing the McMHB and how the decisions being made must be transparent.

PH&HS May 15 2013Kurtz chaired the meeting which started off pleasant but quickly turned rancorous.  Kurtz began a theme of accountability at the McMHB.

Walkup asked, “are we following a process or politics?”  He continued to talk about the importance of the committee process and spoke of the appearance of a “backroom deal”.

“The only time members of the Mental Health Board have accountability is when they are up for renewal,” said Kurtz.  She went on to say it was important that the next nominee have a strong business background.  Kurtz then recognized Hill.

Hill stated that she was looking at all the current candidates as well as others outside of those who were interviewed.  Hill went on to say that she would give an explanation of why she selected the candidate when the announcement was made.  She continued on to say she was very concerned about the process and how it has been publicized.

It was at this time Kurtz asked for nominations.  Hammerand nominated Thorsen noting his MBA and experience, something many board members who voted no wanted.  Salgado added that Thorsen was “my first choice but voted for the nominee to maintain unity.”  Walkup gave a quick second after stating that Thorsen was his choice..

Kurtz then spoke of integrity.  Not just the integrity of the nominee but the integrity of the process.  Kurtz added that Thorsen was an “excellent candidate” but only wanted to be the nominee if he went through the process of being voted on by the committee.  The committee then quickly voted to confirm Thorsen.

Walkup then posed a question to Hill, “Will the chairwoman put the nomination (of the committee) on the agenda?”

“No” stated Hill.

Walkup then spoke as the committee was about to break up due to time restraints.

“The ‘New Day’ promise from Chairwoman Hill is a long, dark night.  I hope you brought extra batteries.”

Hammerand then exited the room and the meeting was adjourned due to losing a quorum.

Happy Mother’s Day

I would just like to take a moment and wish my mother Sandy, my sister Daphne, Tiffany, and Wendy a very happy Mother’s Day.  You are all special and wonderful mothers.  This was always my mother’s favorite gift on her special day.

Mothers Day

 

Here is hoping to all of, the special moms in my life, that you all have a wonderful and blessed day in whatever you decide to do.

While Politicians Pontificate – Business Suffocates

BusinessesIllinois is one of the most expensive places to live, work, and raise a family.  The “collar counties” of Cook are highlighted for all to see.

Now, an article posted at ChiefExecutive.net has ranked the the worst and best states to conduct business.  Illinois slides in at 48.  Shocker.  Illinois only bests New York (49) and California (50).  At what point do people wake up and say, “what we are doing is not working”?  Look at what one CEO said about the Land of Lincoln:

“NY, CA, & IL make it hard to desire to do business there due to deeply-rooted and ineffective socialist bureaucrats who get in the way with their secular social engineering and inherent distrust of business. They represent ‘ankle weights’ to focused business people trying to serve others with value, quality, and responsiveness. High taxes, legal ‘lottery’ justice, and costly union-first commercial complications make you desire to see the consuming public relocate away from these ‘upside-down’ population centers in spite of their historical importance.”

There are a lot of problems here in McHenry County and Illinois.  The way our politicians run government and make appointments to boards is nothing short of a glorious, spectacular failure that you see featured on some trashy cable network news program.  You reach for the remote and try to change the station but its too late.  You cover your eyes but peek through the cracks of your fingers.

Mike Madigan has been in Springfield longer than I have been alive… I am 40.  Why on earth do citizens of Illinois allow our politicians to kick the can down the road.  There is no accountability.  The pension problem in Illinois is starting to make national news.  Everyone is watching.  The data from the article isn’t any better.

79,458 citizens left the state of Illinois in 2010-11.  We are losing population.  Moreover, these are taxpayers.  These are producers.  These are the ones who Springfield continues to abuse.  Here is another quote:

“Illinois—a complete and utter disaster when it comes to fiscal management. The inability to address key issues that are driving debt and instead increase the tax burden on businesses AND residents is mind-boggling. This is precisely why I intend to move my company to FL or TN.”

Jimmy Johns will begin its exodus later this year.  Caterpillar is cutting its workforce as it continues to plan its exodus.  State Farm is moving to Texas.  Go ahead and google “leaving Illinois for Indiana”.  It is depressing.  The citizens of Illinois are fleeing oppressive government and a poor economic environment.  This poor economic environment can be directly attributable to those in Springfield.  The leadership refuses to pass meaningful pension or tax reform.

Illinois ExodusIn Domestic Migration we rank 50th.  We are dead last in people who migrate into Illinois.  People are leaving in droves.  Many who stay say they are “stuck”.  Now there is a pleasant thought.

Why is it that people cannot wait to get out of Illinois.

The solution to this is to start electing people at the local level to stop the taxation locally.  If you look at your tax bill you will be able to “Rack n Stack” which agencies are taxing you the most.  You find out that we need a lot of new faces on local school boards.

We need a new focus on transparency locally.  Many people think we are doing a good job.  We can do better.  Much better – and we are not as good as we think or some would have you believe.

Finally, elected officials need accountability.  The voters in McHenry cannot have impact on elections in Kane or Cook… but the voters can have impact here in McHenry.  It all starts locally.  Perhaps this simple statement from a CEO says it best:

“Living in Illinois… this state is too “corrupt”.