The McHenry County Board Chairman’s Race

One big fight last week was over whether voters should follow Democratic Party State Rep. Jack Franks’ leadership and create a County Executive form of government. (See “Jack Franks Gets Spanked.”

When I wrote my article predicting the outcome, it was failing 2-1. That was with 44% of the precincts reporting.

After including them all and folding in the absentee and early votes, the pretty much final total was 64%-36%.

County Executive referendum results without early and absentee votes.

The almost final results in the County Executive referendum. The only votes outstanding are late arriving absentee votes which will be counted at the canvass.

But, regardless of whether the referendum passed or not, County Board members would still be selecting a person to be County Board Chairman for the next two years.

Will it be a continuation of Ken Koehler at the helm again?

Or will it be one of two women seeking the post:

  • Tina Hill
  • Ersel Schuster

Hill announced her candidacy to the public in mid-July on McHenry County Blog.

Schuster’s efforts have been more behind the scenes.

The public is pretty much cut out of the maneuvering.

So, in an attempt to allow more interaction among the newly-elected board members and their constituents, I’m going to do some speculation about who might be supporting whom.

My best guess is that none of the three candidates has the thirteen votes necessary.

Some of the following members and members-elect names are shown as supporting a particular candidate based on political connections, future ambitions, personal connections, past alliances, current alliances, promises of appointments, past slights, personality disagreements, wanting to support the winner, etc.

In other words, the usual type of motivations for voting in favor or against a person to lead a legislative body are in play.

None of this usually has much to do with the public’s wishes.

But, this year, being forewarned, so to speak, you can call your County Board members and express your opinion of whom they should support for County Board Chairman.

If you would prefer to have a direct vote, ask them to put a referendum on the ballot this coming spring that would allow a vote on the matter.

You might suggest that if they can approve a ballot question whose passage would raise our taxes by 10 cents a $100 of assessed valuation, they ought to be able to approve a resolution allowing people to vote on whether to directly elect the County Board Chairman or not.

The ten I think likely to support Ken Koehler follow:

  • Michele Aavang
  • Yvonne Barnes – 847-516-2719
  • Sue Draffkorn – 815-653-6057
  • Joe Gottemoller
  • Ken Koehler – 815-459-7841
  • Bob Martens
  • Mary McCann – 815-568-1061
  • Nick Provenzano – 815-355-8540
  • Carolyn Schofield – 815-455-9550
  • Mike Skala

The eight I believe could well support Tina Hill are

  • Nick Chirikos – 847-658-3434
  • Tina Hill – 815-347-4222
  • John Jung – 815-338-6201
  • Mary McClellan
  • Anna May Miller – 847-639-5112
  • Robert Nowak – 847-516-9637
  • Sandy Salgado – 815-271-5293
  • Paula Yensen – 815-404-3918

I peg Ersel Schuster with six votes, but, certainly could be wrong because the negotiation process for legislative leadership is in flux.

  • Diane Evertsen – 815-943-3298
  • John Hammerand – 815-728-0700
  • Jim Heisler – 815-459-1971
  • Donna Kurtz -815-788-0632
  • Ersel Schuster – 815-338-2207
  • Mike Walkup – 815-459-7090

Of course, Democrats Chirikos and Yensen could just voter for Yensen until one of the candidates reaches eleven votes and then attempt to trade their votes for the chairmanship, say, of the Finance Committee.


The McHenry County Board Chairman’s Race — 9 Comments

  1. Will be interesting to see who supports who.

    Don’t forget Kurtz and Hill both supported Dee Beaubien and are joined at the hip on the Pro-choice side.

    No candidates are perfect, but Koehler certainly has the experience and the demeanor to represent our County well, particularly with the Chairs of the other Collar Counties.

  2. “But, this year, being forewarned, so to speak, you can call your County Board members and express your opinion of whom they should support for County Board Chairman.

    “If you would prefer to have a direct vote, ask them to put a referendum on the ballot this coming spring that would allow a vote on the matter.”

    To all, especially members of the McHenry County Board and board members-elect, if you haven’t done so already, please download the “Kane County Management of Salary Reviews of Kane County Departments” (by Barb Garza, dated 1/24/12), which can be found at the following site:

    While the comprehensive report details the evolution of Kane County government restructuring from December 2004 through today, the comparisons of Kane County government and McHenry County government is quite revealing.

    Though the numbers are from the 2008-2009 fiscal years, seeing how much McHenry County is paying for the administration of county services with its current board-elected chairman and county administrator will be a real eye opener, especially the nearly $75,000 annual salary the McHenry County Board chairman is paid, plus the additional $151,000 the county administrator is paid annually.

    Now is the time, prior to the Chairmans election for the next 2-years, to determine who will act upon many of the policy restructuring Kane County Board Chairman (and State Senator-elect) Karen McConnaughay was able to implement and reap the cost-savings she did for the taxpayers of Kane County.

    McHenry County Board members, please read this very complete report assembled by Chairman McConnaughay’s staff beginning in 2010, with updates from 2011, to evaluate the future of McHenry County government.

    And then, given all county voters will have the opportunity to cast ballots again on April 9th, ask the county’s voters if they want to elect their county board chairman at-large, beginning in 2014.

    After reading the economies of scale Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay, who was elected twice by voters to be county board chairman, you need to evaluate can the same savings take place in McHenry County.

    And by all means, please engage the community, either here on McHenry County Blog or in some other forum, to discuss these creative ideas with the voters in the on-line community.

  3. Sure- worry about the pro-choice position when determining a leadership position that has NOTHING to do with choice.

    Don’t consider the fact your taxes have go up for 10 years, that your leadership participated in illegal meetings when it served their purpose.

    Of course, by all means by into the line that voters aren’t capable of voting for the chairman directly- too expensive, it will be a popularity contest—- versus this fiasco…

    Snark heavily intended.

  4. I agree with inish on this one. Life/Choice is not the issue here, clean government is. Heard good things about Gottemoller and Schuster. Personally I think Donna shoukld give it a run, although if running the County, she may have less time to do some of the digging that she is. A vote for Ken loses my vote for any future support. A political vote of courage for Schuster, Joe (easier to type than Gottemoller ;-)) or someone of that nature will win my future support on issues.

  5. If the past election cycle proved anything it is that the angst over voting for a levy, raising your taxes, bad behavior- does not transfer to the voting booth.

    You voted essentially the worst offenders back on- Schuster has demonstrated through several votes that she does not look at the long term consequences.

    Case in point- she voted against a grant funded abstinence based sex ed. program being brought into Harvard Schools.

    Harvard has a pregnancy rate 5x the rest of the county.

    Stated it would add to the size of government. It lost by one vote.

    Excuse me but 50 teen age pregnancies a year will add to the cost of my government as well.

    Arguments that it was redundant are flawed, the first level ins’t working.

    The money was not going back into Illinois’ coffers- it will be awarded to another community.

    Short term, knee jerk thinking with costly long term consequences. Joe demonstrated he will research an issue- (small business in the county as an example) he makes a reasoned not emotional argument- and has no bad behavior to unlearn.

    That being said- I bet $20 that Tina will end up as chair- just remember- Republicans have the majority- you can only blame Springfield so long- Im hoping for some leadership from the board as to how to create jobs in this county.

  6. The fact the Republicans have control, should mean that Hill has no chance at Chairman.

    She chairs the committee that is developing the UDO.

    Her involvement with and support of this insane ordinance should disqualify her from being elected to have any authority by any Republicans.

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