Looks as if Jack Franks is Tired of Commuting

A friend of McHenry County Blog suggested I should run Laugh-In’s Arti Johnson’s “Ver-r-r-ry Inter-r-r-e-s-s-ting.” photo, so here it is.

Saturday evening at future State Rep. Barb Wheeler’s fund raiser in Wauconda, I was told that State Rep. Jack Franks had been seen passing a petition to elect the head of McHenry County government at Fiesta Days.

My immediate thought was that Franks was tired of the grueling commute between McHenry County and Springfield.

Having made that commute more years that Franks will have by the time he runs for the newly-created position he seeks in 2014, I can certainly understand his motivation to find a job where he could see his wife and kids at night.

Of course, his law practice is such a job, but it doesn’t fulfill his desire to exercise more power.

Then, timed two days before his Mike Madigan-chaired, Chicago $250-$5,000 fund raiser at the Paris Club Wednesday, comes a front page article on his petition campaign to change the form of McHenry County government.

It was in Jack Franks’ local paper of choice, pretty much the only paper to run his story that he was not going to run for Governor three years ago. (The petition campaign is also an admission that Franks cannot win a statewide Democratic Party primary election campaign in 2014 anymore than he could have in 2010.  Also relevant is that by cutting Algonquin Township out of the 14th Congressional District, Franks would be unable to attempt to leverage a McHenry County base in a run for Congress.)

That’s the Northwest Herald, of course.

I am told that the petition reads as follows:

“We, the undersigned, qualified and registered voters in the County of McHenry, State of Illinois, who have affixed out signatures in our own proper persons to this Petition, hereby Petition, that there be submitted to the electors of the County of McHenry, for approval by a majority of the electors in the county voting on the question, at the General Election to be held on November 6, 2012 in the manner provided by law, the following proposition,

“Shall the county of McHenry adopt the county executive form of government and elect not to become a home rule unit? Yes/No”

That is a policy question, of course.

The ramifications of passage are significant.

It would greatly concentrate power in McHenry County.

Now we have a “weak Chairman” of the County Board. (And I am not referring to the person holding the office, Ken Koehler, whom Jack Franks cannot stand, but the form of government. Blame the analysis on my having taught State and Local Government at Harper and Rockford Colleges.)

A County Executive would be much more powerful.

Being the kind of guy who does not want power concentrated, I shall oppose the proposition.

But I predict it will pass.

That’s because voters always want to be able to elect everyone in sight.

I have yet to see a referendum that proposed direct election of a public official lose.

This could be viewed as the easy way for Democrats to gain power in McHenry County.

Winning in multi-member districts that tend to submerge Democratic Party strong holds is difficult.

Let me note that early on in his career, Franks passed a bill that would allow a referendum asking voters if they wanted to elect Board members from single-member districts, saying that if it passed and the County Board still would not set single-member districts, he would introduce a bill that would allow a binding referendum.

Not having a personal in single-member districts, just a Party interest, Franks never leg such a petition passing campaign.

While a single-member district petition campaign could help Democratic Party candidates for the County Board, the County Executive petition passing benefits only Jack Franks.

If elected, Franks would have some patronage jobs, so some Democrats would win, too.

Perhaps you can think of someone on the current County Board who could beat Franks, but I can’t.

Besides the generally uncritical coverage of Franks by the County’s paper of record, he has upwards of $500,000 of cash in the bank.

He can afford to hire people to knock on every door in McHenry County when he runs in 2014.

Three times or more, plus flooding mailboxes with puff pieces about himself and hit pieces on whatever the Republican Party has to offer.

Saturday Night Live’s Church Lady’s saying, “Isn’t that special?” seems to fit this post, too.

Of course, the Republican Party could roll over and play dead as it did this year when party leaders not only

  • did not recruit a candidates to file against Franks by petition, but
  • rejected Tea Party activist Tonya Franklin’s offer to try to jump over the new hurdles set by state law.

Of course, if Franks runs for another office in 2012, he can’t run for State Representative.

If there is a Democrat in the 63rd District who could beat whatever Republican will win the 2014 primary, I don’t have a clue it might be.

It is pretty clear that Franks supporter Brian Sager, the Mayor of Woodstock and member of Jack Franks “Host Committee” for his fund raisers, has been preparing to run for State Representative.

He obviously was unwilling to run against Franks.

It couldn’t be deliberate on anyone’s part that a conservative Republican was not allowed to run against Franks this year, could it?

Just a coincidence, right?

Franks does have one glaring weakness in a run for a management job.

He has no management experience, at least none that I have seen.


Looks as if Jack Franks is Tired of Commuting — 19 Comments

  1. You have done a good job of highlighting the consequences of a weak or even corrupt McHenry County Republican Central Committee.

    OR are that executives of the McHenry GOP really that dumb?



    Jack is not dumb, ignorant or naive but if he is successful, you can put out the signs: WELCOME CHICAGO!

  2. Welcome Chicago???? You already have single party rule out here. Who are you people kidding?

    Cal, I see you have your spoon out to stir the pot again.

    You do not know if Jack wants the seat. And for Ken Koehler to think it is in response to him- is equally arrogant.

    Ken needs to get re-elected to the board and then to Chairman.

    Mathematically, McHenry County carries the majority of the votes in District 14 – so your theory about Congress has a flaw as well.

    This is merely your opinion.

    Not fact. OPINION.

  3. Inish:

    Cal’s mission statement of the blog states that it is news and opinion. Opinion also is a form of analysis. Sheesh, you haters…if you don’t like what Cal says, don’t read it. Cal’s analysis is fair, I think.

    My two cents: Koehler has to go. His conflict of interests, political favoritism, poor management of the county (refusing to rein in the sheriff and let the taxpayers pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars of unnecessary legal fees) is malfeasance and in a more honest state, would be an impeachable offense.

    Tryon, Althoff, Davis, Schaeffer, Jourdan all have outsmarted themselves.

    By not supporting quality opposition to Franks (this is NOT an endorsement of Tonya Franklin) over time, they have left the door open to lose power, if Cal’s reading of the tea leaves is correct.

  4. Come on, Cal. It doesn’t take that long to get to Springfield at 90MPH…

    Is there an Illinois State Trooper who would dare to write a ticket to a State Rep or State Senator?

    If he (or she) did, he’d end up on the midnight shift near the stockyards outside of East St. Louis.

  5. Paul- I was just pointing out that this is based on merely one lens of the situation.
    On this very blog, Mr. Koehler chastised Tina Hill for campaigning for county chairman saying she was premature given she hadn’t made it back onto the board yet- but he is completely comfortable saying a piece of legislation that wouldn’t go into effect for two more years is the result of him? Equally presumptive. He well might not get on the board- or be re-elected Chairman- Numerous names have been floated for that position.

    I don’t think I am a hater for pointing out that the very criticism of Cook county exist here- nepotism laced single party rule.

    We don’t know if Franks wants the job. That was my point. I am not alone in feeling Power is already pretty concentrated in this county.

  6. To whom would Jack Franks lose to in a general election for McHenry County Executive? I’ll throw a name out: Algonquin Village Manager Bill Ganek, who’s retiring from municipal government next year after 35 years of service, 21 as village manager in Algonquin.

  7. Inish:

    I will concur that power is concentrated in a few hands in the county. Slimy, greedy hands. I, like Cal apparently does, believe that Jack Franks is pushing this for personal and political reasons. And as I said before, all the GOP geniuses who have given Jack a free pass in the past have likely outsmarted themselves. I have to admit a small but growing admiration for Jack, at least for these kind of political skills.

  8. Best reply eva:

    Concerned Taxpayer says:

    07/31/2012 at 8:44 am

    Franks would lose in a Countywide race.

    FYI says:

    07/31/2012 at 10:38 am

    Concerned — To whom??

  9. Eva FYI
    I think your question is a good one.

    I would like to see a reform, independent individual who is not beholden to the Republican establishment.

    My ideal candidate would be a Conservative business person that is concerned with taxpayer rights and would be willing to cut the scope and size of County government.

  10. I saw the sign on Rep. Franks district office promoting this issue of empowering voters to select McHenry County Board Chair.

    Is this a proper use of State funds (assuming the State pays the rent) given this (how McHenry County is organized as long it is compliant with State law) is outside his duties as an IL State Representative?

  11. @IL_Jeffersonian: How do you figure its outside his duties as a state Representative?

    Are those duties listed somewhere?

  12. The problem I see with his referendum is the fact that a lot of people who vote barely know a lot about Local Government.

    Obviously he’s taking advantage of that so he can put someone in.

    Manipulation that we can stop if we walk door to door and let people know why its a bad idea.

  13. Melissa:

    Is it a bad idea?

    I am thinking out loud here, but do we not trust voters?

    Is this not what a republic is about?

    Or is this a bad idea for Republicans? I am wondering if Jack taking the reins of the county in, say, 2014, wouldn’t it be:

    1. Appropriate comeuppance for the cabal that controls the county

    2. Not only punishment for them, but something that would break their stranglehold on transparent and honest politics

    3. Produce some entertaining moments.

    Would any of that be so bad, to watch some of the backroom politicos choke on their own deals? I know that you are not a Jack fan, nor is Cal.

    I don’t think Jack supports any of the issues near and dear to my heart.

    But is it not possible that if the genie pops out of the bottle, the consequences may not be what they intend and not so bad? Like I said, just thinking.

    Love to discuss the politics of it all here.

    Thanks for the forum, Cal.

  14. Down Under: I doubt there is list of duties, but let’s look at the office Rep Franks holds. The people of the 63rd district elected him to Represent us in the legislature of the State of IL.  

    The State of IL and McHenry County are separate governing entities with some overlap.  However, in this case it appears that this is not a State of IL issue as the question is being put to McHenry Co voters not the ILGA.  

    So is it proper for Rep Franks to use resources the State provides him to execute his duties as an IL Representative to promote a view on the organization of the government of McHenry Co?

    I have no issue with Jack Franks, Citizen of McHenry County, using non-State resources, including his “fame” of being a Representative, to promote his view on this issue

  15. I bet Aaron Shepley could gie Franks a run for his money for County Exec.

  16. ILJeff – What you have an issue with – and what you don’t – isn’t much of a legal standard.

    You’re grasping at straws there. Nothing precludes him or any other state legislator from determining what issues to focus on.

    The voters elected him to make that decision himself.

    Nothing improper here.

  17. Test  I never mentioned the law.  It is about being a good steward of the office he holds.  

    The voters elected and provide him State resources to represent them in the IL General Assembly.  

    In that area, I agree he needs to decide what to focus on.

    However, this issue is not before that body.

    That simple. 

    The same standard, in my view, applies to Rep Walsh and his recent response to Gov Quinn’s Assault Weapon Ban proposal.

    In his official capacity, I do not think he should involve himself with this issue.

    Subscribers to the Incorporation Doctrine cannot hold the same view. 

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