In an 18-4 vote, the 24-member McHenry County Board approved a redistricting that was recommended by its Legislative Committee.
The four on the minority side of the question were
- Anna May Miller, who presented an amendment to include all of the Algonquin Township part of Cary in her District 1, while shifting other districts in a counter clockwise direction into other districts,
- Bob Bless from Fox River Grove, also from District 1,
- Marc Munaretto of Algonquin, from District 1, and
- Ken Koehler of District 2, who beat Munaretto for McHenry County Board Chairman.
Had the District 1 board members succeeded, the Algonquin Township part of Cary-Grove High School catchment area would have been in that district. The population lost from those precincts was made up in the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills area west of Randall Road.
Since it wasn’t District 3 remains a Nunda Township-based district.
Discussion ranged from
- the parochial interests of keeping the Cary community more unified to
- dissatisfaction with having no one from Districts 3 and 6 present at the rump meeting when the District 1-initiated changes were discussed to
- dismay at “a very blatant circumvention” of the Open Meetings law, as Donna Kurtz put it.
“No one stood up and said, ‘We may be violating the Open Meetings Act,'” she said, arguing for the amendment’s defeat.
Democrat Kathy Bergan Schmidt was so disgusted with the process, she began by saying,
“Oh, where to begin.”
She pointed out that Miller’s first amendment request was inadequate because it did not make necessary changes in other districts.
And, “if you do that, you create districts that are more unequal in size.”
She said the variance would be 4.3%, when the board had set a guideline of 3%.
Schmidt also was caustic about board members needing “to learn the concept of a walking quorum.”
Three members of the Legislative Committee, Munaretto, Nick Provenzano and John Jung took part in a meeting which may or may not have violated the Open Meetings Act (the Northwest Herald has filed a complaint with the Public Access Counselor of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office). While the law is clear that a majority of a committee quorum may not meet without giving public notice, no more than two of those three were in the meeting with Koehler and Miller at one time.
At about this time, Commonwealth Edison started supplying electricity again and the level of lighting in the room went back up.
Provenzano defended the process of allowing non-committee members to have input in the remap process.
“To call that something created in secret is disappointing,” he said.
District 6 member Ersel Schuster and District 4 member John Hammerand weighed in with the view they would have liked to have been included in the meeting.
Kurtz re-entered the debate.
“The culture of this board has to change, if any of you don’t think the Open Meetings Act was seriously violated.
“No, you don’t wish you had been invited to the meeting. (The committee) was the place to have input.
“I see a real opportunity for us to engage in some serious training and respect each other. We need to follow the law and not flirt with any violation of it.”
“If Ms. Kurtz thinks we should not have (the opportunity) for two members to talk to each other, (business could not be conducted).” He explained how members talk to each other all the time out of the view of the public.
“I think Mr. Provenzano didn’t hear my comment,” Kurtz immediately retorted after being recognized for a third time in the debate.
“We all know that three people from any committee have to be talking about an issue for that act to be violated and that’s exactly what happened.”