Franks Lashes Out at McHenry County Good Ol’ Boys

Jack Franks actually had to run for office for the first time in three elections this past year.

Thursday in the Chicago Tribune, Democratic Party State Rep. Jack Franks lashed out at McHenry County Republicans who had the audacity to put up an opponent, John O’Neill, in last fall’s election.

The comments were in a story covering a bill to create an inspector general for the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace..

Inexplicably it took nine months for Democrats to take any meaningful action after Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano committed suicide near his home in Crystal Lake.

Al Jourdan

Jack Schaffer

Among those criticized as part of “a good old boy culture” were former State Senator Jack Schaffer and former County Auditor and McHenry & Illinois State GOP Chairman Al Jourdan, plus Don Udsteun, who was convicted and served time in Federal prison because of his actions while a Metra board member.

Schaffer and Jourdan were appointed by McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler.

Franks’ best shot:

“No longer will the fox be watching the henhouse. We will have an independent inspector general overseeing these transit agencies.”


Franks Lashes Out at McHenry County Good Ol’ Boys — 7 Comments

  1. Good for Jack Franks

    Jourdon, Schaffer are has beens, theses days they can not run campaigns there are to many Dems.

  2. “Thumb”, you need a third grade grammar lesson, you can’t even write correctly.

    Jack Schaffer is one of the most honest, humble, talented, giving, compassionate man on either side of the fence in this county.

    Jack Franks doesn’t hold a candle the caliber of Jack Schaffer, he’s a lying, thieving, deceptive, desperate, scoundrel and a sore on the face of this county and I will continue to browbeat and inform people of how maligned he and his office really are until his legacy consists of chasing ambulances full time again.

    We’ve been gaining ground for a couple of years now, his time is coming.

  3. Chicago Tribune

    Legislature approves watchdog over transit agencies

    by Richard Wronski, Tribune reporter

    January 6, 2011


    Following is the legislation referenced in the Chicago Tribune article.


    Senate Bill 3965 (SB 3965) in the 96th Illinois General Assembly passed the House on January 5, 2011 and the Senate (with concurrence votes) on January 6, 2011.

    On February 14, 2011, Democrat Governor Pat Quinn signed SB 3965 into law as Public Act 96-1528 (PA 96-1528).

  4. YouTube

    Illinois Policy Institute channel

    Madigan: Power. Privilege. Politics

    November 3, 2016

    “He’s been called the ‘King of Illinois.’

    Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is the most powerful politician in Illinois history, and the longest-serving state House speaker in the nation.

    This unprecedented documentary explores his reign over the Illinois Statehouse.”


    Included in the movie is an explanation of patronage at Metra and elsewhere in Illinois.

  5. Although PA 96-1528 became law on February 14, 2011 to improve ethics and inspector general oversight in Chicago area mass transit districts, patronage remained an issue in 2012.

    That’s evident in the above video and below letter.



    To: The Board of Directors

    From: Alex Clifford, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer

    Re: My employment with Metra and related matters

    April 3, 2013

    – It is an eight page letter.

    – An attempt to summarize some main characters in the letter follows:

    Alex Clifford, Metra CEO who rejected patronage hires and contract fixing, and was subsequently given a lucrative severance package.

    Patrick Ward, Metra patronage hire who wanted a pay hike

    Larry Huggins, Metra Board member, at odds with Mr. Clifford regarding personnel matters

    Brad O’Halloran, Metra Board Chair (top board member), at odds with Mr. Clifford regarding personnel matters

    Jack Schaffer, Metra Board member representing McHenry County who cast a no vote to provide a lucrative severance package to Mr. Clifford.

    Sam Smith, Metra Governmental Affairs Dept (lobbying is in governmental affairs)

    Tom Cullen, Metra lobbyist

    Michael Madigan, House Speaker (top State Representative), recommended a promotion for Mr. Ward

    Luis Arroyo, State Representative, inquired if Mr. Clifford would fulfill a patronage request

  6. The 98 page Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force final report to Governor Quinn was issued on March 31, 2014.

    “This Task Force was created by Governor Quinn in response to the outcry that followed the departure of the former Chief Executive Officer of Metra, Alex Clifford, and the settlement agreement offered to him by Metra to terminate his employment contract.”

    Mr. Clifford claimed that he was fired in response to his refusal to engage in patronage hiring on behalf of elected officials or approve of deviations from Metra’s contracting process.

    In particular, in a now publicly available April 2013 memorandum, Mr. Clifford claimed that there was undue influence by the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and two Metra directors on hiring and promotion decisions within the agency.

    Mr. Clifford also alleged that there was board and congressional influence on procurement issues, citing a particular example involving a Metra Director and a U.S. Congressman.

    During the Englewood Flyover contracting process, the Metra Director undertook negotiations — independent of Metra — to award a disadvantaged business enterprise contract and wished to have Metra direct a $50,000 consulting contract to a particular entity.

    This third party contract was arranged with the Congressman or his staff.

    Further, it was reported that a business partner of the Metra Director had been awarded a non-competitive $200,000 contract related to the same project.

    These allegations have been sent to the OEIG for investigation.”


    Alex Clifford resigned from Metra on June 21, 2013, about 2.5 months after his 8 page letter to the board outlining what he believed was political interference in Metra.

    Referenced above:

    Two Metra Directors on hiring and promotion decisions – board members Larry Huggins and Brad O’Halloran.

    US Congressman – Bobby Rush

    Metra Director involved in $50,000 contract – Larry Huggins

    Business Partner of Metra Director Larry Huggins a non-competitive $200,000 contract.


    Larry Huggins’ side of the story is available online.

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