CL High School District 155 Board Saves Taxpayers $758,000 a Year…Forever

Ted Wagner

Ted Wagner

Ran into Crystal Lake High School District 155 Board President Ted Wagner and he told me something I did not know before.

The High School Board “left $758,000 on the table.”

Those were his words.

What’s that mean?

It means that the Property Tax Cap would have allowed the school district to pull %758,000 more out of our pockets this year that it did.

And because District 155 did not tax to the max, it means that future school boards can’t get the money back.

Steve Willson Urges Closrer Examination Before MCC Board Commits Taxpayers to Debt

Steve Willson’s comments to the McHenry County College Board on May 26, 2016:

Steve Willson

Steve Willson

First, I want to be clear that my comments are not to the whole board but only to the supporters of the proposed capital project.

Second, my comments are directed not at refurbishing the science labs, but at the rest of the proposed capital project.If you trustees wish to waste your own money without asking basic questions, you have that right.

But when you take money by force – taxes – or by increasing the cost to ALL students, you have a higher obligation to make sure you aren’t wasting the money, a FIDUCIARY obligation, which is why your title is “trustee”.

You’re using property taxes and asking 6,500 students to pay more to go to school so you can build new labs for 380 students in the Health Sciences area.

Ninety-five percent are supposed to pay more for 5% of the students whose labs are only a few years old.

Do you know what the annualized cost of a $24 million project is?

The annualized cost is $1.75 million per year.

So I ask you, which of you can tell me how many more students will get jobs if you spend money on this project?

One?  Five?  Ten?

If it’s ten, is it worth spending $175,000 more each year for each additional student who graduates from these programs?

The sad fact is…  You have no idea what the answer is to that question!

Your motto is “Student success is our goal.”

Yet eighteen months ago it was reported in the Herald that the school has NO statistics on student success but they hoped that they would soon.

And now, eighteen months later, this board has taken no action to develop those statistics.

So you’re planning to spend $24 million on FAITH, because you have no evidence that this expenditure will result in any additional students getting good paying jobs.

But what’s even sadder is not that you don’t know the answer to this most basic question.

What’s even sadder is that you never even asked the question!

Here you are deciding to spend $24 million, and you haven’t asked the most basic question about whether there will actually be any REAL additional benefit in more students getting more jobs.

As for the information you have received in support of this project, it has been one-sided, incomplete and questionable.

Speaking of which, the statement was made at a recent meeting that the reason donors weren’t supporting this project was because the board wasn’t “unified.”

Well, I spoke with every one of the College’s major donors and asked them about that and they all told me explicitly that the reason they weren’t donating to this project was NOT that the board wasn’t “unified.”

The information you received was false.

Allen Skillicorn Fundraiser

Jack Franks Set to be Double Dipper

Newly elected McHenry County Board Chairman is sworn in.

Newly elected McHenry County Board Chairman was sworn in on December 6, 2014.

“I think people are sick of double-dipping politicians,” State Rep. Jack Franks told “Big” John Howell in a WLS interview.

He also said that he would serve out his term.

Could it be that the Marengo Democrat knows so little about County government that he does not know that County Board members get sworn in the first week of December?

Certainly, Franks knows that Illinois General Assembly members get sworn in after the first of January.

Retiring members get no pay for that month, but they are paid for December.

And, so are County Board members.

So, if Franks is determined to serve out his term, he will be dipping from both the state treasurer and the county bank account during December.

That’s called “double-dipping.

Franks undoubtedly is getting ready to label his Republican opponent Mike Walkup a “double-dipper.”

Mike Walkup

Mike Walkup

True Walkup is on the ballot twice.

He is running for the countywide office and a district seat.

He is seeking both because the County Board Chairman has no vote on the Board floor.

Walkup wants to be able to vote the same way that Joe Gottemoller now can.

Walkup got the compensation ordinance changed so that someone winning both a district seat and the County Board Chairmanship would not receive two separate salaries.

Now, he would only receive the County Board Chairman’s salary.

Franks Gets County Board IMRF Abolition Bill to House Floor

Franks laughing eyes closed facing right

Jack Franks

State Senator Pam Althoff passed Senate Bill 2701 requiring county board members participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund to keep logs of the hours spent working on county business.

In the case of McHenry County Board members, the number of hours required is 1,000.

The IMRF, at the request of State Rep. Jack Franks, has looked at the McHenry County Board situation and asked for justification that its members have worked 1,000 hours in the last year.

Keeping the work logs, the bill, now under Franks’ sponsorship in the House, has the following content:

Prohibits participation by a person who is an elected member of a county board and is first so elected on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act.

Imposes administrative requirements on current elected county board members.

Requires a participating elected member of a county board to submit time sheets documenting the time spent on official government business.

Provides that the submitted time sheets are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Amends the Freedom of Information Act to make a conforming change.

Effective immediately.

The bill is on “Short Debate,” which is supposed to mean that it is non-controversial.  Only two people get to speak on each side of the issue.

Jack Franks Still Running for State Rep. – Part 7

McHenry County Blog is not the only one who has figured out that Jack Franks is running for both State Representative and McHenry County Board Chairman. The Alton Daily Telegraph ran a story Wednesday as you can see. It was picked up from the Illinois Radio Network.

McHenry County Blog is not the only news outlet that has figured out that Jack Franks is running for both State Representative and McHenry County Board Chairman. The Alton Daily Telegraph ran a story Wednesday, as you can see. It was picked up from the Illinois Radio Network.

Withdrawal of candidacy form Jack Franks has to file to get off the ballot for State Representative

Withdrawal of candidacy form Jack Franks has to file to get off the ballot for State Representative

Sunday, May 15th, Gonigam reported,

“Franks qualified that saying he’d give up the Rep. race if the Committee can pick another candidate who’s both ‘electable’ and holds a political outlook consistent with his own.”

But Franks hasn’t pulled out of the race.

The form that Franks has to file with the State Board of Elections to withdraw from the race is on the right.

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If you would like to read the full article mentioned in the cut line under the image, you can find it here.

Here is the evidence from the State Board of Elections web site that Franks is still running for State Representative:

Withdrawals none with masthead

County Board Moves to Preempt Jack Franks on Pension Issue by Pulling Out of IMRF

John Jung chairs the Human Resources Committee.

John Jung chairs the Human Resources Committee.

Appearing today on the agenda of the Human Resources Committee is a resolution to take McHenry County Board members out of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

State Rep. Jack Franks, in his run-up to a candidacy to take over the County Board Chairmanship, convinced the IMRF to make an example of McHenry County Board members by asking them to show when they had worked the required 1,000 hours (basically half of a regular 2020 hour work year) to earn their pensions.

The agenda says the following:

Board / Committee Action Requested:  Amending Resolution R-9802-12-29 to remove County Board Members from participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) effective 12/01/16.

Background and Discussion:  On February 17, 1998 the County Board of McHenry County, Illinois approved Resolution R-9802-12-29 allowing all elected officials (including County Board Members) to participate in IMRF, if they met the 1,000 hours or more per year in required performance of duty.  As pension reform has moved forward and the documenting of the required time has become more challenging, the County Board has made the decision to eliminate current and future County Board members from participating in the IMRF pension program effective December 1, 2016.

Impact on Budget (Revenue; Expenses, Fringe Benefits):  Future budgets will be reduced by the County’s share of contributions for participating County Board Members.

The most relevant parts of the accompanying resolution follow:

WHEREAS, the current sitting County Board has decided to eliminate current and future board members from participating in IMRF due to the challenges of accounting for all hours spent on addressing County business, both on and off the Government Center campus effective December 1, 2016.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois that Resolution R-9802-12-29 is hereby amended to remove McHenry County Board Members from the list of elected officials eligible to participate in IMRF effective December 1, 2016;

The meeting is at 8:15 on June 2nd.

Franks Seeks IMRF Logs

Jack Franks

Jack Franks

There, of course, is no doubt that State Rep. Jack Franks, now an announced candidate for Chairman of the McHenry County Board, is using the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension issue as a political issue with which to club his all-Republican McHenry County Board.

State Senator Pam Althoff passed Senate Bill 2701 out of the Senate addressing the subject.

It would require Board members to keep logs showing when they had worked the 1,000 hours required by IMRF guidelines (which were not explained to new County Board members during their orientation).

Franks volunteered to be the House sponsor.

Last week he introduced an amendment to the bill which would prohibit future county board members from participating in the IMRF pension program.

This week Franks asked for language that would make the county board logs subject to discovery under the Freedom of Information Act.

The first amendment is still in the Rules Committee (the committee where Mike Madigan decides whether legislation can even be considered); the second amendment has been sent to the Personnel and Pensions Committee.

Rauner Discussing Property Taxes in Springfield

Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner

Here’s part of what Governor Bruce Rauner is doing today:

What: Governor Holds Roundtable to Discuss Lowering Property Taxes and Reforming Illinois with Taxpayers

Where: Wiley Office Furniture, 301 E. Laurel St., Springfield

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016

Time: 10:30 a.m.

= = = = =
It would be nice if he would do come to McHenry County and discuss property taxes.

And making a pitch to freeze real estate taxes probably won’t be good enough.

McSweeney College Credit Bills Passes Senate

A press release from State Rep. David McSweeney:

General Assembly Approves McSweeney-Connelly Dual-Credit Community College Initiative

Springfield, IL…The Illinois Senate today approved a proposal to create the Accelerate College pilot program, an initiative Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) sponsored to help high school students save money and be better prepared to graduate from college.

David McSweeney

David McSweeney

The measure previously passed the House without opposition.

House Bill 5561 creates a voluntary pilot program that provides a pathway for high schools to form dual credit partnerships and agreements with local community colleges. The pilot program has a sunset date of three years to allow for legislators to review its execution and accomplishments.

“This is an effort to help students save money on their college tuition costs and to better assist them in the transition from high school to college,” Rep. McSweeney said.

“I want to thank Senator Connelly for his efforts to get this legislation out of the Senate. Given our state’s uncertain economic climate, we need to be looking at ways to reduce education costs and to help equip young people with the tools they need to succeed.”

Senator Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton) sponsored HB 5561 in the Senate. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 56-0.

Franks Ducks Another Vote

There are three buttons on legislators’ desks in Springfield:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Present

When he was running for President in 2008, Barack Obama took a fair amount of heat for voting “Present” so often.

Following in his footsteps is State Rep. Jack Franks.

Jack Franks stands tall with Barack Obama and Melissa Bean.

Jack Franks stands tall with Barack Obama and Melissa Bean.

He voted “Present” against on Wednesday, May 25th.

It was on House Bill 580, the bill to give AFSCME, the largest union of state employees, a huge advantage in its collective bargaining with Governor Bruce Rauner.

To override the veto, there had to be 71 votes.

The motion got 69 votes.

All Republican legislators with parts of McHenry County voted against the motion. Democrat Jack Franks voted "Present."

All Republican legislators with parts of McHenry County voted against the motion. Democrat Jack Franks voted “Present.”

By not voting for the override, Franks did not displease Governor Bruce Rauner.

Lakewood Decides to Keep 24-Hour Police Coverage

What happened at the last Lakewood Village from Lakewood Trustee Paul Serwatka:In follow up to yesterday’s village board meeting,

Report on Village Board Meeting

I wanted to give a quick report on the deliberations over Agenda Item #7”. 

Crystal Lake Police car

Crystal Lake Police car

This was the motion to approve an agreement between our village and Crystal Lake Police Dept. to have no Lakewood police officers on patrol between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. and instead have any calls for police go to Crystal Lake Police Dept.

I have to say upfront that I truly believe this was a perfect demonstration of residents staying informed, engaged and making a difference.

Scores of residents replied to the email that I distributed, some replied after seeing it posted on McHenry County Blog and others took the initiative to read the agenda online, as it is now posted on the village website.

A dozen or so residents were present at the meeting and several made public comments sharing their express disapproval of this agreement. Several residents also shared common sentiments that they were “disappointed”, “insulted”, and “in disapproval of’ — “several questionable decisions” that this current board has made.

I honestly believe the common sentiment of disapproval expressly shared by these residents influenced at least two of the trustees to vote NO on this agreement, when they would otherwise have voted in favor of it.

The Discussion:

Discussion opened on this agenda item with remarks from President Erin Smith and Trustee Gene Furey, both of whom were absent from the meeting, but requested that trustee, Carl Davis read their brief remarks.

Their remarks reflected that both President Smith and Trustee Furey were IN FAVOR of approving this agreement.

Newly-elected Jeff Iden, one of the three who voted "No" on the SportsPlex extension.

Jeff Iden

The discussion was rather lengthy and got a bit heated at times.

Trustee Jeff Iden then made a motion to approve this agreement.

This motion was seconded by Trustee Bev Thomas.

All trustees present (Serwatka, Santowski, Davis, Thomas and Iden) then voted “NO”.

Technically speaking, I believe it was a parliamentary error for a trustee to make, and second, a motion in the affirmative and then vote against it. If challenged, I believe the NO votes cast by trustees Thomas and Iden would be negated. That being said, I do not foresee this being challenged.

The end result was a victory for Lakewood residents – Lakewood residents will continue to have a police patrol 24-7!

As always, your thoughts, questions and concerns are always welcome.

Jack Franks Still Running for State Rep. – Part 6

2011 invitation containing Mike Madigan's name.

In 2011 Jack Franks’ Chicago fundraising invitation hadd Mike Madigan’s name on top.

When he was interviewed by “Big” John Howell, State Rep. Jack Franks was asked about running for both State Representative and McHenry County Board Chairman, which Howell noted was legal.

“I’m not going to take advantage of that.

“Come on.

“Make a choice.”

State Rep. Jack Franks told every reporter but Pete Gonigam that he was dropping out of the race for State Representative.

Sunday, May 15th, Gonigam reported,

“Franks qualified that saying he’d give up the Rep. race if the Committee can pick another candidate who’s both ‘electable’ and holds a political outlook consistent with his own.”

But Franks hasn’t pulled out of the race.

Here is the form that Franks has to file with the State Board of Elections to withdraw from the race:

Withdrawal of candidacy form Jack Franks has to file to get off the ballot for State Representative

Withdrawal of candidacy form Jack Franks has to file to get off the ballot for State Representative

MCC VP Tony Miksa Off to Be Tennessee Community College President

From the Kingsport, Tennesee, Times News:

Board to vote Friday on Tony Miksa as new president for Walters State

Tony Miksa

Tony Miksa

MORRISTOWN — Anthony “Tony”  Miksa, current vice president at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Ill., will be recommended by Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor David Gregory as the next president to lead Walters State Community College, according to a TBR news release Tuesday afternoon.

The GOP State Convention

A view of the delegates at the convention.

A view of the delegates at the convention.

A couple of dozen McHenry County Republicans went to the Illinois Republican Convention in Peoria last weekend.

The U.S. Senator Mark Kirk wing of the party seems to have stacked the Platform Committee.

It voted to get rid of the plank which says the Illinois Republican Party believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

This was overwhelmingly rejected by the delegates to the convention.

Algonquin Township Trustee sent me two of the photos you see, plus the following commentary:

There was an overwhelming feeling of relief at the conference on Saturday.

My thought is that the Chicago Republicans will push for the platform to be changed again at the next conference.

Seeing grown men and women argue over the values that the GOP has always stood for is baffling.

Not because of the fact that it’s a modern day, but because of the pressures of others.

I was so relieved that out of our whole delegation only 2 people decided to remain sitting for the vote, whereas some committees were all sitting.

With 792 votes [to keep the marriage plank in the platform], we can’t expect more from people when it was an overwhelming win to keep the traditional marriage.

Also the proponents of the change completely lost the issue with their arguments and addressed another issue not even on the table.

If you attended the convention, please share your experiences in the comment section and email pictures.

Here are some photos that were sent McHenry County Blog:

From left to right are Jim Cosler, Bruce Rauner, Sandra Salgado, Chris Covelli and Mike Shorten.

From left to right are Jim Cosler, Bruce Rauner, Sandra Salgado, Chris Covelli and Mike Shorten.

Standing behind Bonnie Quirke and State Senator Dan McConchie are, from left to right, (back row): Eric Hendricks, Adam Schuster, Sandra Salgado, Jim Cosler and Chris Covelli.

Standing behind Bonnie Quirke and State Senator Dan McConchie are, from left to right, Eric Hendricks, Adam Schuster, Sandra Salgado, Jim Cosler and Chris Covelli.

From left to right are Mike Shorten, Jim Cosler, Leslie Munger, Sandra Salgado, Andrew Gasser and Chris Covelli.

From left to right are Mike Shorten, Jim Cosler, State Comptroller Leslie Munger, Sandra Salgado, Andrew Gasser and Chris Covelli.

Melissa Sanchez and Sanchez, Melissa + Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti.

Melissa Sanchez and Sanchez, Melissa + Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti.

Democrat Predicts Jack Franks Can Win Both County Board and State Rep. Races

A comment from “Inish” worth sharing from under the article entitled,

McHenry County Board Outmaneuvered by Nimble Jack Franks Again

stimulated the following comment:

Rested like a arrow in a quiver by no one’s fault but their own.

The County Board ACTIVELY voted to raise the requirement from 60 hours to a 1,000. [That was in 1998. Not more than a handful of current members were on the board then.]

The sign-up sheet for IMRF does not say that one must work 1,000 hours per year.

The sign-up sheet for IMRF does not say that one must work 1,000 hours per year.

Now they want to claim they had no idea.

Sorry- no pass.

They are elected to be responsibility for millions of dollars of tax dollars and decisions that impact hundreds of thousands of people- and I should just accept they didn’t read?

David Stieper's 2014 GOP County Board gravy train campaign piece.

David Stieper’s 2014 GOP County Board gravy train campaign piece.

Sure- this is a political stunt- and you know why it is working- because rather than correct the issue and move on- they are trying to shift the blame to say that somehow, this very real, concrete issue is not relevant because Franks brought it up.  [Jack Franks’ targeting IMRF occurred after the 2014 GOP Primary Election, but the point is well-taken.]

This is exactly why he wins every time- the Republican leadership reacts to whatever Franks does rather than respond.

Instead of spending so much time on whether he will run for one or the other- why aren’t you concentrated on figuring out how to beat him?

Because at the end of the day you know he can, and likely will win both.

Jack Franks Most Important Votes

Steve Reick's second billboard two years ago.

Steve Reick emphasized Jack Franks’ most important votes two years ago.

A yard sign from Steve Reick's 2014 campaign linking Jack Franks to Mike Madigan.

A yard sign from Steve Reick’s 2014 campaign linking Jack Franks to Mike Madigan.

Jack Franks likes to talk about his legislative career, but he never mentions his most important votes:

  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 1998
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2000
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2002
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2004
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2006
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2008
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2010
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2012
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2014
  • Voted for Mike Madigan in 2016