Local Editorials

Our view: Township corruption must end now

Ryan Provenzano (left) attends a Dec. 13 Algonquin Township meeting.
Ryan Provenzano (left) attends a Dec. 13 Algonquin Township meeting.

We’ve said it before. We’ll say it again.

The taxpayers should not be writing blank checks to townships.

We are not your petty cash.

We are not your purse filled with cash.

It needs to end.

When Ryan Provenzano was fired in January as the Algonquin Township supervisor’s chief of staff, he left with a paycheck for the gross amount $7,245.

Although he was terminated for cause not long after the unauthorized release of surveillance video, he still got paid – handsomely.

About $2,600 of that final paycheck was a miscellaneous payment. It was part of a longstanding practice, ripe for corruption, that Algonquin Township officials have been using for years to seemingly pay employees whatever they want, whenever they want, based on no documented policy.

Provenzano’s boss, Supervisor Charles Lutzow, doesn’t think he has to give the public any justification for Provenzano’s parting gift.

“That’s something I decided to do,” Lutzow told reporter Ed Komenda, declining to elaborate.

Severance in this case, with a public employee who at one time earned more than $32 an hour for his two township offices, simply doesn’t make sense.

Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, an Ancel Glink attorney who co-authored the Township Officials of Illinois’ “Laws & Duties Handbook,” told Komenda the same.

“You don’t just pay out an employee you’ve terminated,” she said. “Tax dollars aren’t supposed to be treated as a parting gift to terminated employees.”

She did add that sometimes severance – with private or government employers – is agreed upon in exchange for a waiver and release form signed by the terminated employee promising they won’t sue the township.

In this case, however, Lutzow confirmed that no waiver and release form existed.

A large part of our role here is to shine a light on officials taking advantage of their positions and authority over budgets in this way.

It’s a corrupt system that’s been benefiting political insiders for years, and they exercise their power seemingly without shame. 

Your task is to take that information, remember it when election season arrives, and vote to end corruption when you have that opportunity.

We advise you do that.

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