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County Board meeting called off after law firm let go

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 9:47 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A meeting at which the McHenry County Board would meet its new labor attorneys was abruptly canceled because the State's Attorney's Office abruptly terminated the agreement.

An email from First Assistant State's Attorney Norm Vinton sent Tuesday morning informed the County Board that the office decided to terminate the employment of Laner Muchin to represent the county in its negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police.

Vinton wrote that the state's attorney's office had just learned that the Chicago-based firm was already doing work for the county. Vinton did not elaborate on why this would constitute a problem.

"There were three separate interviews with this firm to perform specific work for the county and despite the fact that they were at the very time of these interviews already doing work for the county, they never disclosed it in any fashion," Vinton wrote.

The County Board canceled the Committee of the Whole it scheduled for the hour before Tuesday night's regularly scheduled meeting.

The Fraternal Order of Police is by far the largest of county government's unions by membership – its three units represent sworn deputies, corrections officers and support staff. About half of county government's overall employees are represented by a total of 10 bargaining units.

Laner Muchin was picked by the state's attorney's office from a pool of five firms, which were interviewed by county government, the sheriff's office and state's attorney staff. The firm met last month with the County Board Human Resources Committee, which decided to ask that a Committee of the Whole be convened for an introduction.

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