Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Open Letter to MCC Trustees and President

At the December 9 meeting of the Evaluations and Policies Committee of McHenry County College, I noticed a number of things that I believe should be changed. The following email has been sent to Pres. Vicky Smith and the Trustees.

Dear Dr. Smith and Trustees,

May I offer suggestions for the Board to consider about your meetings?

Correct signs should be placed in the halls. The signs for the Evaluations and Policies Committee meeting on December 9 called it a Board of Trustees meeting. A person looking for this Committee could have missed the meeting. A woman (the recording secretary?) in the room when I arrived told me she uses the same sign for all the meetings and that she wasn't going to prepare separate signs for the different meetings. She should.

Public comments about items on the agenda should be heard when the agenda item is discussed. Otherwise, their importance and relevance are lost or at least reduced. Also, there is no opportunity for the public to rebut or supplement information during the discussion. An important omission on December 9th was any reference to concealed carry training, which emphasizes restricted locations. No licensee is likely to carry into MCC; that state-law restriction will be emphasized during the 16-hour training that is required. No public comment could be made about the restriction of firearms to vehicles in Lots C and D.

The proximity of Lots A and B to the childcare center alone is not a reason to restrict concealed-carry licensees to Lots C and D. No licensee will brandish his weapon; she or he will use care to unload and reload it without attracting attention. Even if a parent near the Childcare Center notices, the State law allows these actions; in fact, it dictates them.

What does an arriving legally-armed student or meeting attendee do, should Lots C and D be full but spaces are open in Lots A and B? Must she or he miss the class or meeting?

Training representatives of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department and attorneys from the States Attorney Office indicate that, if they encounter an inadvertent violation of the concealed carry law, they may note it but not arrest or prosecute the licensee. Reporting it to the Illinois State Police, as Director Clesceri indicated he would do, would lead to revocation of the concealed carry license.

The Pledge of Allegiance is missing from your agenda.

It was not easy to identify the members of the Committee. Are only three of the Trustees on the Committee? Five were seated at the front of the room.

An Open Meetings Act (OMA) violation is possible, if the Committee meeting becomes a Board meeting by virtue of the additional Board members present who are not on the Committee. While the sign calls the meeting a Board meeting, the Agenda clearly is for a Committee meeting, as is the schedule published on the MCC website. It may be that meetings should be dually noticed, to avoid an OMA violation.

Are no members of the public (students, residents, voters) on the Committee? When they are left out, their opinions are not heard.

All speakers should speak clearly and distinctly into the fine microphones there for their use. Most did not. Chair Kisser's voice often could not be heard. Her microphone was turned away from her throughout the meeting. Others did not pull the microphone close or lean toward it, so that their voices would be amplified.

Considerable valuable time of the Committee members was wasted for the wordsmithing of the proposed sustainability and concealed carry policies. For the Committee to spend over an hour on the proposed concealed carry policy and then change only a semi-colon was a very poor use of time.


Gus Philpott



Maverick50 said...

Great letter and very valid points!

Gus said...

Thanks, Mav.

After I wrote it, I got to thinking that maybe MCC cannot designate certain parking lots as "safe harbors" and prohibit firearms in other lots. I'll re-read the State law for the exact wording.