Salgado Remains – Ferguson to 708 Board

Board Member Sandy Salgado
Image Courtesy of McHenry County Blog

Last night the McHenry County Board Committee of the Whole was to take up the removal and replacement of Sandy Salgado (McHenry) from Public Health & Human Services (PH&HS) and replace her with Bob Martens (Spring Grove).  As has been publicly covered by the Northwest Herald, there were some concerns about a possible “conflict of interest”.

Chairwoman Tina Hill (Woodstock) decided against that move and had the nomination removed.  It was the right decision.  Salgado has done an admirable job on PH&HS and there was no evidence to suggest she should be removed.  After researching 100s of votes by Salgado on the McHenry County Board, I personally could not find one instance of anything wrong or even the appearance there of.

Everyone knows that there are a lot of problems at the 708 Board.  While some people are just beginning to see some of these issues, some have seen some of the irregularities for awhile.  Right or wrong, Cathy Ferguson (Crystal Lake) has a lot on her plate and will always be “that candidate” that is going to be expected to shed light on the McHenry Mental Health Board (MHB).  She is going to have to drink through a fire hose.

mc-mental-healthShe has a lot of work to do and a high hurdle to overcome.  However, after listening to county board members talk about her character and qualities, this is a challenge she should be able to overcome.  Some of the issues she will need to quickly verse herself in are:

    • Particulars of the upcoming financial audit of the 708 Board
    • Ability and capability to have the 708 Board review all expenditures
    • Ways to reduce administration costs at the 708 Board
    • Transparency

 

“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. 

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.