Rauner Wants to Sell Thompson Center

From Governor Bruce Rauner:

ICYMI: Legislation Refiled to Sell Thompson Center

Selling building could net state taxpayers $220 million; generate $45 million in property taxes for the City of Chicago

The following is an excerpt of a story from Crain’s​:

Gov. Bruce Rauner and other Republican lawmakers are making a second run at selling and demolishing James R. Thompson Center in the Loop, which they say could add hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local coffers. […]

This time around, the state’s Department of Central Management Services is providing specific estimates of how much a sale of Thompson Center would boost the state’s finances. A sale would generate potential net proceeds of $220 million and would prevent the state from addressing $326 million in deferred maintenance on the building, according to CMS. […]

A sale and redevelopment of Thompson Center also would generate transfer taxes and future property taxes for local government, (House Minority Leader Jim) Durkin said.

John Hammerand Wins His Quest to Get a New Firm to Audit McHenry County

John Hammerand

Wonder Lake’s John Hammerand served on the Finance Committee for over a decade until Joe Gottemoller did not re-appoint two years ago.

Jack Franks didn’t see fit to make use of his accumulated knowledge either.

Hammerand has been campaigning for a new firm to audit county finances for years.

As he pointed out Tuesday night, the current firm bought (or merged with) the former firm.

This happened more than once, going back to the early 1990’s.

That led Hammerand to conclude that McHenry County needed a new auditor.

When a resolution came before the board to approve the current auditors, who are well into the current audit, Hammerand proposed an amendment that next year the county select a new set of CPA’s.

When a vote was taken, Hammerand’s amendment passed.

Lakewood TIF Joint Review Board Meeting on Rt. 47-Rt. 176 Intersection Improvement Thursday After Next

A message from future Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka:

Follow-Up on TIF District/Sportsplex

Following up on recent developments with the TIF District/Sportsplex that I wrote about in my January 1st newsletter, I wanted to share with you what I have learned at this point, which includes the following:

1. To-date response from Lakewood Interim Village Manager, Andrews
2. Response from USDA (U.S. Dept of Agriculture)
3. FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Requests
4. January 26, 2017 Lakewood Joint Review Board Meeting

—–
1. To-date response from Lakewood Interim Village Manager, Andrews

After my Newsletter went out, it was posted on McHenry County Blog. In response to this, Interim Village Manager, Shannon Andrews sent the following email:

Honorable President and Board of Trustees,

In response to recent articles on Cal’s blog, I have received some inquiries as to the status of the Sportsplex as it relates to the Village. Please be aware that I have been provided no further information than what was reported at the December Board meeting. At that time, I shared with the Board that the Sportsplex team was continuing to pursue financing for the project.

If an invitation to bid has been issued for the project, my assumption is that the cost of the project may be a requirement of the USDA application. However, I will be following up with the Sportsplex team to get a better understanding.

If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Regards,

Shannon

—–
2. Response from USDA (U.S. Dept of Agriculture)

A resident team member who reached out to the USDA received the following word back:

Thank you, for reaching out with your concern so that we could address it.

I’ve been in touch with our Community Program Director in Illinois and the Area Director and Community Program Specialist for Northern Illinois.

An application for this project was submitted to Rural Development approximately a year ago and rejected. While we have heard there is continued interest in the project, to date Rural Development has not received another application. As I’m sure you can appreciate, we are unable to comment on what, without an application, is currently a hypothetical situation – other than to reassure you that any application received will indeed have to meet all eligibility guidelines for consideration.

Your comments, concern and insight are appreciated and will be kept with this file for review if further activity regarding this project reaches our office.

Thank you again for reaching out and you are welcome to contact me directly if I can be of additional service.

Best regards,

Public Affairs | Community Economic Development Coordinator
Rural Development in Illinois
United States Department of Agriculture
2118 W Park Ct. Suite A Champaign IL 61821

—–
3. FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Requests

FOIA (Freedom of Information) requests for any written communications to-date between village staff, officials and the Sportsplex principles, have turned up no notable communications pertaining to the TIF District or Sportsplex.
—–

4. January 26, 2017 Lakewood Joint Review Board Meeting

The intersection of Routes 176 and 47 as it will appear after it is reconfigured by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Next Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 1:00pm – The Lakewood Joint Review Board Meeting will be held to discuss the Route 47 and Route 176 Redevelopment Project Area. The meeting will be held at The West Beach Building, 2330 Lake Avenue, Lakewood.

Present, will be officials from the various government bodies that will be affected by/involved in the Lakewood TIF District, including Lakewood, Woodstock, School Dist-200, Grafton Township, Crystal Lake Park Dist. and McHenry County.  [McHenry County College is also eligible to attend.]

This meeting is open to the public. I will be in attendance in an unofficial capacity.

—–
As far as I can tell, at this point, it doesn’t appear there is any imminent danger or reason to be overly concerned.

That being said, this is still an issue that I strongly believe MUST remain a priority, MUST be watched over vigilantly and MUST be dealt with as soon as possible.

Regardless of your views toward the Sportsplex itself, our village board, in an effort to protect this TIF district from impending lawsuits, has put Lakewood taxpayers at an unfathomable risk.

If development within this TIF begins, there is a very real possibility that our property tax levy could be increased by 50% or more. I have spoken and written of this before and will again address this in detail, in an upcoming newsletter.

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

Chris Christensen Wins County Board Seat with $11,794, Mike Walkup with $17,017

Chris Christensen

Mike Walkup

Chris Christensen, the man appointed to take McHenry County Board member and candidate Nick Provenzano place on the County Board and on the ballot showed he can raise campaign funds.

And win election.

Appointed in September, the insurance man raised $13,171.16.

To gain election, he spent $11,774.36.

Here are Christensen’s sources and the amounts:

  • $2,000 – Vince and Pat Foglia
  • $2,000 – Intren, Union
  • $1,000 – Black Diamond Plumbing
  • $1,000 – MSS Leasing, Lake in the Hills
  • $1,000 – Robert M.Gray, Prairie Grove
  • $884.75 – Liberty Outdoor
  • $750 – Committee to Elect Lou Bianchi
  • $500 – Bigfoot Construction, Woodstock
  • $500 – Robert and Sandy Howell, McHenry
  • $390.15 – McHenry County GOPAC
  • $300 – Jason Dexter, Naperville
  • $250 – Amy and Ryan Farrel, Lakewood
  • $250 – Demetrios Tsilimgras
  • $250 – Heritage Title, Crystal Lake
  • $250 – JC Milling, Loves Park
  • $250 – McHenry County Farm Bureau PAC
  • $200 – Mary Ann Louderback, Cary
  • $200 – Jack Schaffer, Cary

Election results show Christensen running first with Walkup running 169 votes behind.

Christensen, of course, was not the target of negative messages, the way Walkup, also running for the County Board Chairmanship, was.

Walkup ran for both a District 3 seat and the County Board Chairmanship.

He raised $16,666 and spent $17,017.

Walkup received the following repportable income during the last six months of the year:

  • $5,400 – Vincent Foglia, Barrington
  • $5,400 – Patricia Foglia, Barrington
  • $1,000 – Steve Willson, Lakewood
  • $250 – Lou Anne Majewski, Barrington Hills
  • $250 – Allen Skillicorn, East Dundee
  • $250 – Skinner Campaign Fund, Lakewood

In addition Cal Skinner loaned Walkup $2,033. The loan was repaid.

Democrats placed out of the money, so to speak.

Election results follow:

  • Chris Christensen – 12,102
  • Mike Walkup – 11,933
  • Kathy Bergan Schmidt – 8,687
  • Diane Johnson – 8,452

Erin Smith’s Lakewood Winter Letter, Appointing Jason McMahon To Fill Ken Santowski’s Place

The latest quarterly letter from Lakewood Village President Erin Smith:

From the President

Erin Smith

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Village Staff, I want to extend our best wishes for a very Happy New Year. I hope you were able to take time off over the holiday season to relax and
enjoy time with family and friends.

As with previous newsletters, I will highlight some of our current projects and provide status
updates for each project. But, first I would like to share some personal thoughts with you.

In April I will complete my 8th year as Village President following 4 years of service as Trustee.

It has been my great privilege to serve as Village President. My desire was to serve two terms as
President if given the opportunity to do so. Consistent with this plan, I am not running for a 3rd
term.

Lakewood has been my home since I was 12 years old. My husband Mike and I have raised our 4 children in the house where we have resided for 24 years. Lakewood is still home to 24 members of my family. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the residents of Lakewood for providing me the opportunity to serve in the community I care about so deeply.

As you may know, in my full-time career, I serve as the head of Total Rewards for a global technology company. With the completion of my Village Board service, I look forward to the additional flexibility I will be afforded when planning international business travel. In addition to my professional career, I will continue to pursue my passion for community service. I have accepted a position on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Community Trust Disability Fund, where I hope to make a difference in expanding inclusion, accessibility, education and employment opportunities for citizens with disabilities.

Board Transitions

Jeff Iden

In addition to my transition, Trustees Jeff Iden and Bev Thomas are not running for reelection and Trustee Ken Santowski has resigned his position as Trustee effective December 31, 2016. I hope you will join me in expressing our appreciation to Jeff, Bev and Ken for their years of service to the Village of Lakewood. In addition to serving as Trustee, Jeff Iden served on the RedTail Committee and as our Board Liaison to the Turnberry Lakes Committee, adding considerable time to his Village commitment.

Ken Santowski

Ken Santowski initiated and maintained our award winning Village recycling program for nearly 10 years, donating many hours of service each week to process our Styrofoam and electronics recycling.

I have been very fortunate to serve with many dedicated Board Members throughout my 12 years on the Lakewood Village Board and I am very proud of the many accomplishments we have achieved together.

At our January 24 Board meeting, I will be asking for the advice and consent of the Board to appoint Jason McMahon to complete the remaining 2+ years of Ken Santowski’s term. He will be one of many new faces on the Board, as we will have a new Village President and 3 Trustee positions on the ballot in the April General Election. Please make sure you vote in this very important General Election on April 4th .

Turning attention back to Village business, I will now provide a number of important updates.

MCRide Services

The Village of Lakewood recently discontinued our direct participation in the County’s Dial-A-Ride Transit Service, commonly known as MCRide. Despite this, senior and disabled residents living in either Grafton or Dorr Townships will seamlessly continue to receive the benefits of the MCRide program through their Townships’ participation.

Algonquin Township, which includes properties east of Meridian Street, is not a participating member of MCRide and is therefore not eligible for service throughout the MCRide service area.

Instead, the township manages their own transportation services for both seniors and disabled individuals travelling within the township. In order to use this service, residents must first register with the township. Reservations can be placed a minimum of 24 hours in advance by calling (800) 639-2700, Ext. 6.

The Village Board understands the importance of having access to transportation services within the community. We are confident that the programs offered by our each of our townships will continue to support our senior and disabled residents, who are the primary users of the program.

Utility Billing Dropbox

The Village has installed a utility billing dropbox as you approach the exit to the Village Hall parking lot on Lake Avenue. This dropbox allows you to securely drop off your utility payments without having to leave the comforts of your vehicle. This should be particularly helpful during winter months. Residents are always welcome to stop in at the front desk to pay in person. Payments received in the box after hours will be posted the next business day.

Turnberry Well Abandonment

The boat ramp can been seen to the right of the pontoon boat.

Well #2 is located adjacent to the boat launch along Turnberry Trail. Since this well is not actively in service, the Village planned to have it properly abandoned or sealed over the summer of 2016. In
anticipation of this work, many have noticed that the landscaping around the well site was cleared. This was done to allow the heavy equipment easier access to the well.

Unfortunately, the depth of the well presented some challenges that will require the project to be completed in the summer of 2017. This will leave the area open and exposed for a bit longer than hoped, but the Village has every intention of replacing the landscaping as soon as the project is complete.

2017 Roadway Program

Our 2017 Roadway Program will be bid in January as one project, but is broken into two parts for funding purposes. The first section will be the resurfacing of Lake Avenue and the addition of bike lanes from Huntley Road to the east Village limits (East of Essex Lane).

Adding bike lanes might mean removal of the day lilies in front of our home.

The cost for this portion of the project is estimated to be $693,000.

However, the Village is responsible for only 20% of the cost, or $138,600, as the remaining 80% will be paid for through federal highway funds.

These day lilies may turn into asphalt.

The second portion of the roadway program includes the following additional roadways whose construction and engineering is estimated at $545,821, will be fully funded by the Village of Lakewood:

  • Pheasant Drive – Bard Road to Bardwell Lane
  • Wiltshire Lane – S. Shore Dr. to Broadway Ave.
  • Warwick Lane – S. Shore Dr. to Lake Ave.
  • Cumberland Lane – Lake Ave. to Broadway Ave.
  • Oxford Lane – Lake Ave. to Broadway Ave.
  • Essex Lane – Lake Ave. to Broadway Ave.

The Village’s website will provide regular updates throughout the construction, which is expected to begin in the spring.

Sincerely,

Erin Smith
Village President

Kelly Liebmann’s Message to the County Board

Here is what Wonder Lake’s Kelly Liebmann told the McHenry County Board last night:

Kelly Liebmann

This Friday we will witness a transition of government during the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies in Washington DC.

I recall 8 years ago, reporters discussing that our system of government is exceptional because every 4 or 8 years, power is handed over peacefully to a completely new Administration—regardless of a contentious election.

I wish the same could be said about our County government.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind the entire County Board, Chairman Franks, Administration, and the State’s Attorney’s office that in 2012 voters REJECTED the County Executive form of Government by almost a 2 to 1 margin.

Voters did not, and do not want, the McHenry County Chair to have any type of power resembling a County Executive, including the additional costs of Executive branch employees, separate legal counsel, Executive Assistants or Communications Specialists.

Chairman Franks’ actions continually overstep the intended power of the office, while circumventing protocols and violating fundamental management controls.

The Chairman’s hiring of two employees with the help of Administrator Austin, could subject McHenry County taxpayers to costly discrimination lawsuits.

Mr. Austin stated to the Northwest Herald “the hires do not increase the county’s personnel count because of previous staffing changes.”

I ask, when did these staffing changes occur?

Regarding vacant positions, Section 4 of the Salary Administration Policy states:

“If a position becomes vacant, steps must be taken to fill it within 90 days. Failure to take the appropriate steps to fill the position within 90 days will result in the position being eliminated.”

The erosion of the hiring and appointing processes will corrupt McHenry County, its employees, and elected officials.

Violating EEOC rules will cost taxpayers money.

Residents gave the County Board direction with their vote on the County Executive referendum of 2012.

We do not want the County Chair to have executive powers or cost taxpayers additional money.

Take back the power of the Board. Follow Board Rules.

Advise the State’s Attorney Office that legal opinion is not to be given to the Chair but only to the County Board. Instruct Administration to follow procedure and protocol.

The McHenry County Chair should have very limited power because the voters want it that way.

Ice Causes Delay of Garbage Pickup in Lakewood

A press release from the Village of Lakewood:

Garbage and Recycling Delays

MDC Environmental Services has informed the Village of Lakewood that this week’s garbage and
recycling collection will be postponed by one day to Saturday, January 21, 2017.

This is due to operational delays caused by the icy road conditions on Monday morning.

Residents are encouraged to contact MDC Environmental Services at (815) 568-7274 with any questions regarding this week’s collection. Services will resume their normal schedule the following week.

Franks Denies Photos of His Two New Democratic Party Patronage Hires

You aren’t going to believe this.

I filed a Freedom of Information request for photos of the two new Democratic Party patronage hires.

My request:

Photos of Bridget Greenen, Executive Assistant to Jack Franks, plus photos of Oliver Serifini, Communications Specialist.

Here’s the reason for the denial:

Under the Freedom of Information Act 5 ILCS 140/7 (c), the following shall be exempt from inspection and copying:

(c) Personal information contained within public records, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless the disclosure is consented to in writing by the individual subjects of the information. “Unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” means the disclosure of information that is highly personal or objectionable to a reasonable person and in which the subject’s right to privacy outweighs any legitimate public interest in obtaining the information. The disclosure of information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials shall not be considered an invasion of personal privacy.

In accordance with 5 ILCS 140/7(c), compliance with the request would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy for the individuals subject to the request.

= = = = =
Apparently, Jack Franks is proud of his re-cycled patronage employees. He introduced them from the podium at one point and read what a commenter wrote about last night:

And another thing, you’re also wasting money on 2-3 assistants tripping the costs to the county of having a Chairman!!!

Tell your boy and girl wonder to stop walking the room looking over citizens’ shoulders.

You are a very slick yet sleazy lot!

DO YOUR JOB and the taxpayers won’t need to pay 3 people plus legal counsel to do it for you!

You’re a disgrace, Franks!

Cook County Jail Inmate Girlfriend Pleads Guilty to Countraband Smuggling

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

Former Chicago Police Dispatch Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Federal Extortion Charge in Connection with Scheme to Smuggle Contraband into Cook County Jail

CHICAGO — A former dispatch supervisor for the Chicago Police Department admitted in federal court today that she provided private government information to her boyfriend in an effort to help smuggle contraband into Cook County Jail.

STEPHANIE LEWIS used her position in the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications to access law enforcement databases to locate the personal information of a corrections officer at the jail, according to a written plea agreement.

Lewis provided the information to her boyfriend, an inmate in the jail who had schemed with the officer and others to smuggle in the contraband to sell to other inmates, her plea agreement states.

Lewis admitted in the plea agreement that she knew her boyfriend and the others used the information to threaten the officer with physical harm unless he continued with the scheme and smuggled additional contraband into the jail.

Lewis, 42, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle set sentencing for April 26, 2017, at 11:30 a.m.

The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lewis’ guilty plea brings to five the number of defendants convicted in the case.

The prior convictions include the corrections officer, JASON MAREK, who admitted delivering contraband, including marijuana, tobacco and alcohol, to a jail inmate after tucking it into sandwiches and sneaking it past security.

Marek was assigned to a maximum-security tier of the jail when he smuggled in the goods in May and June 2013.

Lewis’ boyfriend, PRINCE JOHNSON, of Chicago, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges and is awaiting trial.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Cunniff Church.

McSweeney Goes One Step Beyond Not Taking a Legislative Pension, Bill to End for New Members

A press release from State Rep. David McSweeney:

David McSweeney Introduces Bill to Eliminate Legislative Pensions

Cary, IL – State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) has again introduced a measure to eliminate legislative pensions for all new members of the Illinois General Assembly.

Representative McSweeney has voluntarily chosen not to participate in the legislative pension program.

In addition, McSweeney has voluntarily cut his legislative office budget by 10 percent every year since he was first elected to the Illinois General Assembly.

David McSweeney

“Our state is drowning in debt.

“We do not have a budget and some politicians are clamoring to raise taxes.

“It just sends the wrong message to taxpayers for legislators to be drawing lavish pensions while the State cannot afford to pay its other bills,” McSweeney said.

“Ending legislative pensions is the right thing to do.”

The legislation (HB 338) would eliminate legislative pensions for new members of the Illinois General Assembly.

“I and a growing number of legislators from both parties have already voluntarily refused to accept a legislative pension,” McSweeney said. “It is time that we lead by example and show the taxpayers that we are serious about changing the culture in Springfield.”

House Bill 338 has been introduced and awaits an assignment to a legislative committee for further consideration.

Jim Kearns Delays Resigning from Grafton Township Supervisor Slot

It was my understanding that Grafton Township Supervisor Jim Kearns was going to resign after he was sworn on the McHenry County Board.

But, looking at the Grafton Township web site I found what you see below:

When I asked why he had not stepped down, Kearns sent me the following:

I informed the board at the December 19th Meeting that I was giving them my resignation in writing on Dec 31; effective Dec 31.

Trustees Ziller and Zirk and the entire board then asked if I would consider staying until the end of my term.

I told them no.

The entire board was concerned that they wanted the voters to select my replacement.

I then told them I would Stay no later than Feb 28th Primary which would give them a clear direction of which candidate the voters would want.

(there are only 2 Republican candidates for Supervisor unless a write in Candidate files for the April election).

Supervisor Candidates Holtorfe and Ruth were both in attendance of the Dec 19th meeting and both preferred the voters decide.

I then later agreed to stay after consulting with my family.

I fully intended to resign in December.

I have attached a copy of the Dec 19 minutes approved at last nights meeting which reflect my intentions.

I commend the Trustees for wanting a smooth transition of power letting the voters decide.

It has been an honor to serve the residents of Grafton Township as the Supervisor.

A March 1 meeting has been approved to select my replacement.

Yvonne Barnes Wins County Board Seat with Less than $5,000, Tom Wilbeck Spends $6,285

Yvonne Barnes

Tom Wilbeck

Financial reports have been filed by District 1 County Board candidates and the top vote-getter spent less than $5,000.

That’s the “magic number” under which a candidate does not have reveal how much money was raised and spent.

Spending less than $5,000, incumbent McHenry County Board member Yvonne Barnes did not have to filed a report with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Newcomer to District 1, former McHenry County College Board member Tom Wilbeck spent $6,285 in his second place win.

The election results showed convincing victories for the two Republicans:

  • Yvonne Barnes – 12,065
  • Tom Wilbeck –  11,303
  • Kerri Barber – 8,570
  • Kathryn Potter – 8,195

Barber’s big contributions came from a union and a member of the McHenry county Board of Review :

  • McHenry County Building Trades – $250
  • Mark Ruda, Fox River Grove – $200

Potter spent $1,988 in the last half of the year on her campaign.

She raised $1,788 during that same time period.

Most came from two unions:

  • McHenry County Building Trades Council – 500
  • Northeastern Illinois Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Political Action Fund – $250

Her only other contribution big enough to require reporting was $193.90 from Mark Ruda of Fox River Grove.  He is a Chicago lawyer.

Paula Yensen Withdraws Name from Consideration for Human Resources Committee Chairman

Paula Yensen

With Republican County Board members disturbed that McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has hired two Democratic Party patronage workers without County Board authority, a majority was not satisfied that Human Resources would be chaired by Democrat Paula Yensen.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Yensen said,

“I’m not interested in being chair of HR.”

Franks then asked the Board to send the Human Resources Committee back to the Committee on Committees.

Yvonne Barnes argued for appointing the HR Committee at the meeting because

“It’s just delaying the inevitable. I have full confidence we could do it tonight.”

Franks pointed out that the man who the GOP majority was set to appoint as Chairman was running for an office which would be incompatible with serving on the County Board.

Franks did not mention the name, but it is Michael Rein, who led the fight to keep the HR Committee.

Rein is running for Woodstock Mayor against Brian Sager.

The vote to send it to the Committee on Committees was 13-10.

Advisory Referendums Killed

Two advisory referendums that McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks announced he wanted on the ballot in April were voted down by a vote of 17-7.

They would ask about

  • prohibiting increases in tax levies without a vote of its constituents
  • cutting the size of the County Board from 24 to 12 members to be elected from single member districts

A third referendum asking whether voters want to eliminate the elected office of Recorder of Deeds.

Franks withdrew the Recorder of Deeds proposal before the agenda was distributed and asked that the referendum to cut the size of the County Board be removed at the beginning of the Tuesday meeting.

None of the referendums had been considered in a committee.

Both Franks and Board Republicans accused the other of playing politics.

Tax limit referendums, also advisory, passed with over 90% of the vote in Lakewood, Cary and Fox River Grove.

New Location for Court’s Arbitration Center

A press release from the McHenry County Circuit Court:

22nd Judicial Circuit Arbitration Center Moving Location and Changing Names

(Woodstock, IL) The 22 nd Judicial Circuit’s Arbitration Center will be moving its operation to 400 Russell Ct., Woodstock, IL, (south of the courthouse) effective March 1, 2017, and now will be named the 22nd Judicial Circuit’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Center.

The ADR Center is funded solely by the Illinois Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

The seal of the 22nd Circuit Court.

The ADR Center presently is responsible for the coordination of arbitration cases filed in McHenry County.

Arbitration is a successful means in civil case management.

Most arbitration cases are resolved before the arbitration hearing, with a relatively small number of cases actually proceeding to a hearing.

After the hearing, cases are either dismissed or set for trial; many cases settle without the need for a trial. Every year less than four percent of the arbitration cases filed result in a trial.

Alternative means to resolve disputes saves litigants time and money.

Arbitration is mandatory for civil cases seeking money damages between $10,000-$50,000.

Cases eligible for arbitration proceed in Court along an expedited track, with arbitration hearings required to be held before the anniversary of the filing.

A panel of three arbitrators conducts the hearing, allowing the parties to present all facts, evidence, and law, before rendering an award.

The arbitration award is not binding for thirty days, during which time either party present at the arbitration hearing may "reject" the award, pay a rejection fee, and then proceed to a trial before a judge or jury.

Additionally, the ADR Center will begin expanding its role to include other forms of dispute resolution.

Opportunities being explored include the coordination of small claims and family mediation and the exploration of civil mediation for other cases, including mortgage foreclosures and probate.

= = = = =
Hearings are open to the public, typically scheduled on Fridays. They are now held at 666 Russell Court on the 3rd Floor.

= = = = =
The mission of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of McHenry County is to be the guardian of life, liberty and property to all seeking access to justice, by adhering to practices that ensure equality, fairness and confidence in the judiciary.

County Board Member Craig Wilcox Spends $10,070 To Win, Kay Bates – $2,623

Craig Wilcox

District 4 Republican County Board member spent $10,070 in the last half of 2016 to secure his seat on the McHenry County Board.

The former Air Force Colonel and relative newcomer to McHenry County came in first with running mate Kay Bates just behind:

  • Craig Wilcox – 12,850
  • Kay Bates – 12,425
  • Robert Rosenberg – 6,358
  • Arn Waltmire – 5,813

Kay Bates

Bates, Executive Director of the McHenry Chamber of Commerce, reported spending $2,623, including her share of an in-kind mailing from McHenry County GOPAC.

Democrat Waltmire reported spending $1,425 and raising $1,757.

All but $100 of his money came from three unions:

  • International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 – $500
  • McHenry County Building Trades Council – $500
  • McHenry County Building Trades Council – $250

He has $799 in the bank to finance his candidacy for the McHenry High School Board.

Rosenberg reported $1,701 in the last half of the year.  Most in the last quarter seem to be loan repayments (detail here).

Jack Franks Spends $452,116 to Win County Board Chairmanship, $5.65 per Vote

Jack Franks

State Rep. Jack Franks reports spending $452,226 during the last half of 2016 in his campaign for McHenry County Board Chairman.

His Republican opponent, Mike Walkup raised $16,666 and spent $17,017.

Franks still has lots of cash.

  • 6-30-16 amount – $572,268
  • 9-30-16 amount – $609,527
  • 12-31-16 Amount – $546,888

Franks spent $5.65 per vote.

Walkup spent 29 centers per vote.

He raised $16,666 during the last half of the year and spent $17,017.

Steve Reick Raises $1,108,661, Spends $1,108,661 in Winning State Rep. Race Over John Bartman

Steve Reick speaking to the Johnsburg GOP crowd.

In the State Representative contest to replace retiring Jack Franks, winner Steve Reick spent $573,065.

That’s not counting independent expenditures on his behalf.

He raised $564,843.

That’s from October through December.

Add in the quarter before and one finds the following:

  • Receipts – $1,108.661
  • Expenditures – 1,108.661

There was an extraordinary $475,561 of in-kind donations, mainly staff salaries, robo-calls, mailings, billboards, newspaper, radio and television ads.  (Details here.)

Reick ended the year with $1,589 in his campaign bank account.

This is undoubtedly a record for McHenry County.

Reick’s Democratic Party opponent, John Bartman had the following income and outgo the half of the year:

  • Receipts – $341,937
  • Expenditures – $328,516

Bartman had $13,334 left over.

She spent something in the neighborhood of $100,000.When I first ran in 1972, the most spent in a legislative race was by independent North Side Democrat Dawn Clark Netsch.