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Our view: McHenry policy goes too far

Published: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Acrimony between one McHenry alderman, the mayor and city staff has gotten so disruptive that the mayor and city administrator have come up with a policy to address it.

While we're concerned about continuous city staff disruptions and understand the spirit of the solution, we're also concerned about policies that overreach and have unintended consequences.

Mayor Sue Low wouldn't publicly identify which alderman the policy is aimed at, but everyone knows it's aimed squarely at Alderman Andy Glab – even Glab knows it.

The new policy, which was outlined in a Nov. 4 email to McHenry city staff, requires council members who have questions about council agenda items or the implementation of city policies to address those questions in an email to the mayor and city Administrator Derik Morefield.

City officials claim that Glab badgers staff several times a week. Glab and Low were on opposite sides of the last mayoral election, and the political animosity has lingered.Glab disagrees with the characterization, but if true, we agree that such behavior is inappropriate.

But we don't think it's wise to require that all communication between city staff and council members be funnelled through the mayor.

Politics aside, and sometimes because of them, there might be appropriate times that a council member should be able to communicate directly with city staff without the questions and answers being filtered through the mayor or city administrator.

If a council member's frequent contact with city staff continues to be a problem, staff members themselves simply can refer the alderman to the city administrator, who could handle the matter as he sees fit.

We agree that a city council member should not be constantly sticking his hands in routine, day-to-day city matters and disrupting staff. But completely shutting off that contact is taking it too far.

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