Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pat Maher: The pot calling the kettle black

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Patrick Maher, the cousin of 19th Ward scion Dan Hynes, is attacking Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman for using part of her monthly county stipend for miscellaneous services including education, to pay for a small part of her tuition. (Read the story in the Arlington Heights Daily Herald?)

Never mind that Maher lied through his teeth about his past aggravated felony charge and his later plea deal to misdemeanor battery, disclosing it only after the secret was out of the bag. But look who's talking about wasting taxpayer money?

Gorman used between $6,000 and $7,500 to pay for a portion of the $75,000 in college costs to get her degree. According to Maher, we don't want educated elected officials in office because that might mean they'd ask questions about the Chicago Machine's hold on the suburbs. (The 19th Ward looks at Orland Park the same way the Soviet Union preyed on Poland)!

It's not a bad story and raises issues about the county's policies. But the fact is Gorman did nothing illegal. She didn't beat someone up with a friend and then conspire to keep it a secret so as not to undermine a silver-spooned career in politics.

In contrast, Maher is the president of the Orland Fire Protection District, which has one of the highest and most outrageous budgets of any fire protection district in the region. A typical Fire Protection District spends about $7,000 for services. Orland's Fire Protection District spends more than $25 million.

So let's put it all on the scale. Gorman spent $7,000 to become a better educated county official. Maher spent $25 million to build a government base from which he can run for higher office. (According to the 19th ward scenario, Maher wins the county board seat and then runs for U.S Senator. And then, walks in to the White House like Barack Obama. Yea right!)

Worse, Maher allows his battalion chiefs to drive their huge SUV gas-guzzlers anywhere not only while on official duty but also while off-duty. Like taking the kids to the little league games in other community like in Lemont, where his brother missed the 19th Ward's Golden Ring in an election there, too.

You want to talk about wasting money, clean up your own back yard first. You're a good kid with a bad mistake on your resume. Instead of hiding it and then fudging it, show courage and fess up with the facts. Trim the waste at the Orland Fire Protection District. And make those battalion chiefs drive their own vehicles when they are off-duty. The Orland Fire Protection District has more than enough BCs to cover any fire. They don't need someone burning gas and wearing down the vehicles (taxpayer funded) so they can help the supervisors on duty to do their jobs.

-- Ray Hanania

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