ALAW Offers Reaction to Passage of Conflict of Interest Ordinance It Promoted

Ersel Schuster listening to discussion of Conflict of Interest Ordinance.

Whether the ordinance that the McHenry County Board passed two days ago will make any difference in the way the board does business remains to be seen.

But it is a step toward the transparency that citizens need to begin to understand whether conflicts of interest drive County Board decisions.

It passed with only two dissenting votes, Lakewood’s Scott Breeden and Huntley’s Dan Ryan.  Ryan blamed his Republican primary defeat on his unwillingness to fill out the ALAW questionnaire upon which the ordinance is based.

Here is the way Emily Berandt, the one who led the charge before Ersel Schuster’s Management Services Committee reacted:

Emily Berendt (on the left) makes point in mark-up meeting of the Management Services Committee. Sitting to her left is Janet Trafelet, who serves on ALAS's Advisory Board.

The McHenry County Statement of Economic Interests Addendum Ordinance passed at the County Board meeting Tuesday night 22-2.Although much has been deleted or changed since we presented the original draft, much of what is really important remains.

This new addendum requires county officials to disclose all real estate holdings, business and professional relationships and larger indebtednesses to entities doing business with county or local governments.

When this ordinance was proposed, we said that this was McHenry County’s opportunity to be a leader in a nationwide movement toward greater transparency in government.

ALAW urged McHenry County to take a preemptive strike against accusations of self dealing and to restore the public trust in its elected officials.  We are pleased that the county has stepped up to the plate.

Thank you to all who were involved in this process.

Emily Berendt
Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water (ALAW )

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