Saturday, October 26, 2013

No more EEO officer

At his fundraiser on Thursday Bill Prim referred to the growth at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) since 2008. If I recall the figure correctly, the MCSD budget has grown 30%.

Prim, a candidate for sheriff in the March 2014 Republican Primary, said, perhaps not for the first time, that he will get rid of the Equal Employment Opportunity officer position at MCSD. Prim says the sheriff's department has an attorney, and the State's Attorney Office is to handle the legal matters of the sheriff's department.

And that's how it should be.

How much money would the taxpayers of McHenry County have saved over the years, if Sheriff Nygren had used the State's Attorney Office, instead of shipping tens of thousands of dollars south to Itasca to the coffers of the James Sotos Law Firm.

What did it cost for Sotos to come after me for 27 months' worth of documents and records related to my blog? When I got the subpoena in Zane Seipler's case against MCSD and Nygren, I knew immediately that I would not roll over. I prepared my own Motion to Quash that subpoena and filed it in Federal Court in Rockford.

When the date for hearing my Motion arrived, I was there. I'd like to say that my smarts and expertise in the courtroom won my case. You know, my legal knowledge, preparation and skilled courtroom demeanor...

The truth is that the judge did all the heavy lifting. He asked me one or two questions, and then he all but leaped over the bench to go down the throat of the attorney from Sotos' office. Man, I almost felt sorry for her, and I figured that she was just the mouthpiece there for Sotos, so that she could take the licking, not Sotos. They had to know they were on the losing end before that court date ever arrived.

The judge told Nygren's lawyer that he was not going to allow her to go on a fishing expedition and that everything they were asking for in their subpoena had nothing to do with Seipler's case.

And then Nygren's lawyer handed victory to Seipler, only his attorney wasn't in court to claim it. She told the judge that the reason Seipler was fired was because he was complaining about racial profiling at MCSD. And that's exactly what Seipler was claiming. Yet Nygren was telling the press it was a different reason.

So, while my own courtroom cleverness did not win my case, I had to fight the subpoena and get the matter in front of the judge. If I hadn't, they could have run all over me.

Back to Prim and the EEO position. That position didn't require a law degree - until Nygren put it in the job description when he wanted to hire Don Leist. Leist replaced a woman employee at MCSD whose job had run its course. The position should have been eliminated. The County's HR Department could provide what was needed. But Nygren must have figured he could get the taxpayers to bear the cost of inside legal advice and, sure enough, MCSD later added the office category of Legal Affairs Officer to Leist's door.

Savings with that one of Prim's expected cuts? $100,000/year. Doesn't sound like much? It's a million dollars in ten years. For just one unnecessary position. I wonder if Don Leist has dusted off his resume yet.

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