Saturday, August 24, 2013

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll ...

Is this what is happening in McHenry County?

On Thursday at 3:00PM the McHenry County Ethics Commission will convene a hearing. Perhaps by now they have learned how to conduct a hearing...  If they have, perhaps they should back up a month and actually conduct the hearing sought by Cal Skinner, publisher of the McHenry County Blog, in the proper form and manner.

As it stands right now, there wasn't any hearing worthy of being considered a "hearing", and Mark Gummerson's attempt to stick it to Cal Skinner to the tune of $5,000 should be tossed out through the second floor window of the Administration Building. And send Mark's client, Undersheriff Andy Zinke, the bill.

To come up to speed on Thursday's meeting, see the Northwest Herald article today. Also, read the McHenry County Blog and FirstElectricNewspaper.

The Commission, through inexperience and legal advice that didn't help it, totally dropped the ball when Skinner's complaint was scheduled to be heard.

The Commission was run over by Zinke's attorneys, Mark Gummerson and Rebecca Lee. It was a pitiful example of government. The Commission let Gummerson go on and on, as if it was afraid to tell him to sit down and wait for the hearing to be convened.

Then the Commission quickly ran into closed session and, shortly thereafter, returned to open session (without following Open Meetings Act rules) and threw out Skinner's complaint.

Gummerson tossed a foul ball at the Commission, just as he did a few years ago when the McHenry County Election Commission held a hearing, when a Marengo resident filed a complaint against Perry Moy, who was running against Jack Franks. At that time, and before the recent Ethics Commission meeting, Gummerson said that the person bringing what he called a "frivolous" complaint ought to be fined $5,000.

The Chicago attorney at the Election Commission hearing back then said that would have a "chilling" effect on any citizen who considered bringing a complaint. And it is just as true today, as it was then.

Now Gummerson wants Skinner fined $5,000 for a "frivolous" ethics complaint against Zinke. There was nothing "frivolous" about it. Skinner should file a complaint against Zinke and Gummerson for their frivolous action. If there is any frivolity here, it is the complaint against Skinner.

How is it going to be possible to get the Ethics Commission to re-convene and conduct a legitimate hearing on Skinner's complaint against Zinke?

If Skinner's complaint does get a re-hearing, Skinner will need an attorney to remind the Commissioner's that Zinke's attorneys' statements are not testimony. You know - like at trial? Attorneys flap their arms and their jawbones, make a lot of accusations, speak in loud voices, but what they say is not "testimony" or "evidence."

The Ethics Commission should have put Zinke and Nygren under oath and then asked them, out of the hearing of each other, whether Nygren really told Zinke to send that e-mail to the County Board via the County (official) email system and while on Department compensatory time.

Do I believe that Nygren told Zinke to send the email that way? Absolutely not.

But Gummerson said that's how it happened, and the Ethics Commission wasn't smart enough to say, "Prove it."

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