Public Watchdog.org

Police Auditor Terry Ekl’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy

09.17.08

From the reports we’ve received about Monday night’s City Council review of the recent police department audit, it sounds like it wasn’t all “sea shells and balloons” (as the late, great Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire liked to say) for audit author, attorney Terry Ekl.

But today we come not to bury Ekl, but to praise him.  Our reason?  Ekl has decided not to be the political fall guy for a process that was phony from the start.  On that very limited basis we say: Good for him.

Don’t get us wrong.  We opposed Ekl’s hiring from the beginning, as we noted last April in  “It’s Almost Time for ‘Scapegoat Caudill’.”  We preferred the far more substantial (albeit also far more expensive) proposals from prominent Chicago firms with audit teams headed up by former Ass’t U.S. Attorneys like John Kocoras (Kroll) and Dean Polales (Ungaretti & Harris) over the bare-bones proposal from Ekl’s 6-man DuPage County litigation firm because we figured that if an audit was worth doing, it was worth doing right – and thoroughly, not half-baked.

By the time Ekl’s $75,000 proposal was selected, however, the real reason for the audit – Mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark’s desire to heat up then-Police Chief Jeff Caudill – had been eliminated through Caudill’s early retirement.  With Caudill out of the way, Frimark and his very own “Mini Me,” Alderpuppet Jim Allegretti (4th Ward), only needed something that looked official but accomplished little.  And Ekl’s audit did just that.

So when Allegretti argued at Monday night’s meeting that Ekl should be paid the full amount that he billed the City for the audit because “[t]o a certain extent, we got exactly what we paid for with Mr. Ekl’s report,” he was about as right as he is likely ever to be about City matters.  But even a stopped clock is right twice a day, so we’re going to hold the applause for Allegretti until he climbs down off Frimark’s lap.

Meanwhile, back at the City Council chambers Monday night, a sharp exchange occurred between Public Safety Chairman Ald. Frank Wsol (7th Ward) and Ekl over why Ekl’s report did not identify by name those elected officials who were found to be intruding into the day-to-day operations of the PRPD.  Ekl accused Wsol of being unable to “articulate an intelligent question” and of “pandering” to his constituents.

Frankly, we here at PublicWatchdog hate pandering, especially by public officials.  But if our elected officials are going to do it, we’d rather have them pandering to their constituents than to a carpetbagging attorney – or a bunch of carpetbagging developers and other special interests who view Frimark as Park Ridge’s own “Monty Hall” and Park Ridge taxpayers as sheep just asking to be fleeced.

The audit review part of Monday night’s festivities ended with Ekl scheduled to evade more questions at the continued Council “workshop” (which usually means the public isn’t allowed to ask questions) next Wednesday, September 24, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

When the Council went into its regular session and began debating payment of Ekl’s bill that has already exceeded the original $75,000 proposal, Allegretti predictably argued for full and immediate payment “for the good of Park Ridge” – whatever that means.  When his plea went nowhere, Alderpuppet Robert Ryan (5th Ward) offered a 50% payment compromise, just to show Ekl that the City values his services – whatever that means – and as an inducement for him to show up on October 6. 

But the star of this debate was clearly Alderpuppet Don Bach (3rd Ward), who ripped Ekl’s “attitude” and disrespect for the Council.  We have to remind our readers, however, that the last time Bach was this visibly ticked off, he told Bill Napleton that he would never buy another Cadillac from him – but then turned around moments later and voted to give Napleton up to $2.4 million of our tax dollars.

Let’s just hope Ekl doesn’t show up next Wednesday toting an empty suitcase.

5 comments so far

This sounds like yet another screw up by the city. But it just cost us 75 grand so who really cares.

Great Mini Me comparison.

Check the minutes of the City Council’s 4/21/08 meeting and you’ll see that the only alderman who had the good sense to vote against giving Ekl the contract was Dave Schmidt. The rest of them, including Bach and Wsol, jumped on the Ekl bandwagon – but only after Allegretti and Bach unsuccessfully (a) tried to give Ekl the right to grant immunity to City employees (i.e., cops) who talked to him; and (b) VOTED NOT TO RELEASE THE REPORT TO THE PUBLIC!

So expect Wsol to wimp out before this tiff with Ekl is finished. And you’re right about Bach pulling “a Napleton” – that goof might just want to give Ekl a bonus!

Regarding the comment that Bach was so ticked at Napleton that he wouldn’t buy another one of his cars — can we surmise that he, like Frimark, already knew that Napleton planned to pull out of Park Ridge?

We are unaware of any solid evidence that either Frimark or Bach were aware that Napleton was going to be closing its dealerships when the City Council voted – with Frimark as the tie-breaker when Ald. Carey suffered a brain cramp and abstained – to approve the $400,000 environmental clean-up funds or the $2 million sale tax sharing plan.

Dog, where is your Friday post? I’m going through withdrawal.



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