Monday, January 13, 2014

Mgmt. Services Committee nixes firearms policy

The Management Services Committee of the McHenry County Board met this morning and discussed, among other things, the proposed Concealed Carry Policy.

County Administrator Peter Austin explained that a software glitch had resulted in placing an incorrect Start Time in the Agenda. He also mentioned a late revision to the Policy but did not offer details.

Attending today were County Board members Yensen (Chair), Kurtz, Miller, Schuster and Skala. Absent were County Board members Hammerand and Walkup.

Public comments were made on this topic by County Board member Nick Provenzano and me.

Other Agenda items were discussed, and then the Concealed Carry Policy discussion opened. There was a lively discussion between the Committee members and Deputy County Administrator John Labaj. Assistant State's Attorney and Chief of the Civil Division Donna Kelly explained to the Committee that the County Board could probably not write a Policy that would restrict Constitutionally-elected officers. She didn't list those officers, but they likely include the Coroner, Treasurer and Circuit Clerk.

Labaj said there are 350 County employees and 40 volunteers who are authorized to use their own vehicles on County business. The issue of discipline of an employee who violated the Policy was discussed. Austin commented to the Committee that any County employee who felt in danger (Probation officer, zoning inspector, etc.) should request to be accompanied by law enforcement, which is exactly right. No County employee should enter into harm's way and expect to have to defend himself with a personal firearm.

The possibility of Executive Session (about the Concealed Carry Policy) was raised early in the meeting, and Committee members Miller and Skala quickly objected. The discussion on that Agenda item was held in Open Session. When it was time to vote, the Committee voted on the Resolution pertaining to the Policy before them, and the vote was 0-5.

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