Below are the comments of District 3 McHenry County Board candidate Mike Walkup made to the Board this morning:
Yesterday Jack Franks filed his petition to establish a county executive in McHenry County.
I was at the County Fair over this past weekend.
Jack and his volunteers were telling people who they wanted to sign the petition that it was to “elect the county board chair”, and “to end cronyism in the county.”
In reality, this petition will fundamentally change our form of local government.
It will do the following:
- Eliminate the County Board Chair;
- Create a County Executive who will be elected to a four year term, with no term limits, and who will have the following powers:
(a) Chair the county board meetings and vote to break any ties;
(b) Veto any votes of the County Board requiring a 3/5th supermajority to override;
(c) Perform the duties now being performed by the County Administrator, including hiring and firing of staff and department heads, setting the county budget, awarding contracts; appointing members of commissions and special districts, and more.
Effectively a McHenry County Czar.
Hardly the way to “end cronyism”.
To the contrary, it is rife with potential for cronyism on an unprecedented scale.
Is this what you want? As a potential member of this Board in December myself, I don’t.
But , if you don’t do something right now, this may very well be what you get.
As we have already seen, the proponents of this measure think nothing of misrepresenting the effect of this referendum.
You can expect their campaign literature to do the same.
They have the money and means to get that message out.
Think: last minute mailings and robocalls the day before the election.
In fact, who is it, exactly, that is going to raise the money and form the organization to get out the true facts between now and November?
As I see it, the only way to counter that is for this Board to place the issue of direct election of the County Chair on the ballot yourselves.
This take the direct election issue off of the table and will allow the debate to be reframed as what it really is, a question of the distribution of power in county government.
This must be done before the end of this month.
I would also recommend that you include term limits in the proposal, which the County Executive referendum will not have .
I am out of time now, and so are you. Thank you.