County Board Members Sound Off on Nepotism

During Public Comment at the February 17th County Board Meeting Joe Alger addressed the Board.

He started off by saying that many people in the community are upset about the Clerk hiring her husband and he sees this as a “skirting of the system and sees how the public is upset and infuriated by this. He sees this as skirting the system when spouses are hired when in fact the “public would be better served by hiring people on the outside”.

Alger views the issue of nepotism as pervasive throughout the County and as well as occurring in townships such as Algonquin, and others.

Given the level of unemployment in the County there are many citizens who would “love that opportunity” to obtain one of these jobs and that is one of the reasons he thinks nepotism is unfair.

“Despite hearing a lot about ethics and conflict of interest here it is amazing that we have some (conflict of interests) right in front of us and we just tip-toe around because the County government can’t do anything about this”.

Later in Member Comments County Board Member Michael Walkup provided the

following comments:

Mike Walkup

Mike Walkup

“I want to thank Mr. Alger for coming in and making his comments tonight.”When I first got out of law school I lived and worked in Chicago for legal aid and I was really appalled, having grown up in pristine McHenry County, at the level of corruption that existed in Chicago and Cook County government, and I immediately threw in with some of the groups that were working to end that, like the Better Government Association and the Chicago Council of Lawyers.

“And we succeeded over the years.

“They did anyway, in eliminating a lot of that, believe it or not.

“Unfortunately now, it seems to have moved to the suburbs.

“Mayor Daley was once asked about nepotism and responded ‘What kind of a father would I be if I didn’t help out my family members?’

“That may have been funny back in the 1970’s, but it’s not so funny today.

“I think that nepotism is a form of corruption.

“People who engage in nepotism are corrupt.

“Hiring your spouse is an even worse form of nepotism because it means that you are kicking back another pay check to yourself.

“What is the harm to the public?

“The harm to the public is that an elected official may hire somebody who is not qualified, and may overpay them.

“That elected official may allow their family member/spouse to work a second job when they are supposed to have a full time job that they are being paid a full time salary for already, and you don’t care because you are getting the income from that one too.

“It’s got to stop.

“I think it can stop.

“We have 102 counties in Illinois, each of which has 7 or 8 Constitutional countywide elected officials, not to mention all of the townships, so the potential for this is enormous.

“So I would like to call upon Chairman Provenzano in the Legislative Committee to take this up in terms of what we can do to ask our state legislators to introduce legislation to give the boards which oversee these units of local government some type of oversight over this type of hiring, and impose the same sort of rules on them as we impose on our own departments here in the county government.”

Donna Kurtz

Donna Kurtz

Donna Kurtz supported Walkup’s comments that nepotism is way for elected officials to use taxpayer money to expand their paycheck by hiring a spouse to increase take home pay and stated that “this is not right”.

She also stated that Chairman Gottemoller was “dodging the issue of nepotism” when he declared that the “Board can not control what elected officials do, whether we like it or not,” alluding to the issue of nepotism with the Clerk hiring her husband.

Kurtz said that such comments by the Chairman show a lack of responsibility in addressing nepotism,
which is an issue that the public wants stopped.

Diane Evertsen

Diane Evertsen

Diane Evertson stated that because the County has a policy on nepotism she is requesting that all County Board members receive a copy of this and encouraged County Board Members to consistently apply these rules to issues as they occur.

Joe Gottemoller

Joe Gottemoller

In response to Kurtz’s assertion that Chairman Gottemoller was dodging the issue of nepotism, Gottemoller stated that his comments were to explain “the difference between what the County is allowed to do and what responsibilities we are allowed to take when it comes to our elected officials.

“That is not an endorsement from my end of saying that I approve, or for that matter disapprove of what various elected officials have done.”

Chuck Wheeler

Chuck Wheeler

Chuck Wheeler followed up and stated that it is “not fair to hire a close (family) member,

and if we allow this continue it is going to get worse.”

Wheeler went on to explain how he saw nepotism expand at Glenview Heights when the village president hired two family members and later this expanded to five family members.

He encouraged Gottemoller to follow through with the recommendation by Walkup to refer to the issue to nepotism to be addressed through the Legislative Committee by recommending support for corrective statewide legislation to end the practice of nepotism in Illinois Government.


County Board Members Sound Off on Nepotism — 20 Comments

  1. Too many lawyers, too many laws, too little morality.

    As the moral compass of our nation moves further and further away from a sound moral base, nepotism / corruption in our units of government will increase.

    The odds in favor of outright theft (Dixon) of your tax dollars will also increase.

    I suggest you visit this link if you believe otherwise:

  2. Most obvious need for policy addressing nepotism is Township government, where, in some cases, well over 50% of the family’s income/benefits/retirement is derived from a Township paycheck.

    Does anyone know of Towships that have adopted such a policy that does not allow nepotism?

    Nepotism is one more reason for abolishing Townsnip government.

  3. We have many strong advocates in McHenry County fighting for the rights of the people.

    Thank you Donna Kurtz, Mike Walkup, Chuck Wheeler, Diane Evertsen and more…

  4. Thank you Joe Alger for speaking out and for Cal Skinner to write about this.

    There are various townships where the same family fiefdoms exist.

    These ‘elected officials’ are PUBLIC SERVANTS.

    What doesn’t our County Clerk understand about this?

    Please let her be a one term clerk.

    We have great county board representation, like Evertson, Kurtz, Wheeler, Gasser and Walkup.

    Our County Board representation of Gottemeiler is weak.

    What was his purpose in running anyway?

    He needs to be a one termer as well.

    Hey Gottemeiler ‘we the people’ pay your salary.

    Why don’t you at least try and reduce the nepotism?

    I’m certain there is something you can do.

    The next article from this blog, I would love to hear how all of the county board members read the nepotism policy.

  5. Citizen involvement is the cure.

    Don’t expect others to fix our problems for us, especially in THIS state.

    Run for local office, get involved in local campaigns and VOTE in local elections.

    The solution is in our hands, not Springfield’s –

  6. Section 3.16, McHenry County Personnel Manual, effective August 1, 2011, provides as follows:


    It is the policy of the County of McHenry to provide all employees with equal employment opportunities for career advancement without fear of favoritism or penalty, actual or implied, based on family relations.

    No relative shall be assigned or hired into a position where the employee would be required to supervise or be supervised by another relative, whether directly or indirectly. This policy is not intended to preclude employment of relatives in other departments within the County of McHenry. In addition, it does not apply to temporary/seasonal or student intern employees.

    If employees in a supervisory relationship become related after employment, every effort will be made to transfer one of the employees to a position or shift where no supervisory relationship exists.

  7. Did someone forget to read the Personnel Manuel?

    But notice the first part of the policy.

    One statement counter- dicks the other

  8. The Personnel Manual does not apply to the offices of county wide elected officials as per various state statutes concerning those offices.

    That is the problem.

    Townships generally do not have any sort of anti nepotism rules and Road Commissioners and Assessors are separate offices and not subject to oversight by the township boards in any event.

  9. Neoptism is alive and well throughout Illinois and the only way it will stop is that there is legislation prohibiting it at the state level.

    It is like a weed that will continue to grow even if you pick it up it will pop up somewhere else.

    And if we don’t let it be known it will grow as it has in my previous town where there is a full blown investigation by the BGA

    you can read its report and judge for yourself.

  10. There is no way to write a comprehensive law to stop this sort of hiring.

    If folks want to hire unqualified supporters, family members or friends to positions in government and they cannot directly hire them into their world there will be cooperation among different corrupt public officials to shuffle the friends and family hiring around to hide it.

    If the hires are qualified then there should be little complaint.

    The only hedges against this sort of behavior are public awareness with a willingness to inflict consequences and the “Invisible Hand” talked about by our Founding Fathers.

    Without self inflicted accountability through faith or external accountability from voters there is no way to write enough law to stop elected people from bad behavior.

    A small final thought…

    At what point would a reasonable person think legislators, at any level, are going to write a law which applies to themselves?

    When haven’t they exempted themselves from laws they don’t like?

  11. It would really, really help if at least one or two of the people who post on this blog would go to a County Board and remind the ‘elected’ and them that ‘unelected’ public sector employees are SUPPOSED to be working for us.

    Instead, some of us work two, three and even four jobs to support them!!!

  12. It won’t help. It hasn’t helped.

    A systemic problem can’t be solved by appeals to human honor.

    If it is ‘legal’, it will occur.

    Apply a stress test to this particular problem. If all elected officials in a position to influence hiring were to engage in nepotism, would the system collapse?

    Second order effects of nepotism may include incompetent performance in the job. Will the system collapse due to incompetence?

    Another second order effect will be perpetuation of hiring without regard to skills requirements.

    So, in a short period of time, the system (government) in question is saturated with potentially incompetent human operators.

    How much damage does ‘the system’ allow incompetent human operators to inflict on those humans governed by, but not privy to insider-only advantages of, ‘the system’?

    Apply the stress test (if all systemic components exercise maximum use of particular policy, will system collapse?).

    Then analyze whether we should be comfortable with a system this vulnerable to debasement holding such destructive power over outside-the-system humans.

    My conclusion is that when systemic debasement is inevitable, the rational response, in self defense, is to seek methods for minimizing the power of the system to exert personal impact.

  13. Just take a look at who the voters had to choose from for County Clerk.

    It did not matter which one was elected, we knew BOTH would hire their spouse.

    Until we get better candidates for office we will be ruled by the incompetence and the selfish greedy types.

    How many voters knew that whomever was elected, the spouse of that person was going to be working for the County and as predicted in this case RUNNING THE COUNTY ELECTIONS!!

    So you pass a law relative to nepotism; the law will be ignored just like the President does not secure our borders and deport illegal aliens OR loopholes will be built into the law.

    Is it nepotism if you co-habit-ate with someone with no legal document joining you together?

    I suggest to you that our government representation will never improve while our moral compass continues to be weakened.

  14. If you read the County Employee Manual provisions that I cited above, should the county rules be determined to apply to the offices of the elected officials (where the employees are also county employees as I understand it currently), no one would be able to work in the same office together (other than the co habiting situation) as the spouse is always going to be at least indirectly a supervisor if that spouse is the elected official heading the office.

    Spouses of people other than for example, the Sheriff, could be hired in such places as the Sheriff’s office but would have to be in different locations or shifts or not in the same chain of command.

    A secretary could possibly work in the same State’s Attorney office as one of the lawyers so long as it was not directly for that lawyer, etc.

    It’s not much but it’s something.

    Right now we have nothing.

    The fact that you may not be able to solve every situation doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to address what you can.

  15. Well look at Algonquin Township Highest Salaries!

    Bob Miller makes $104K and hires his wife Anna Mae Miller to be his ‘secretary’ at the tune of $88K and she’s also a County Board Member making $29K insurance/retirement!

    MIGHTY SWEET-And all this for 3 and 1/2 miles worth of road that he’s road commissioner for!

    And the people keep electing this trash!


    Gee I bet Anna Mae Miller didn’t have much to say at this meeting!

    LOL or maybe she was conveniently absent.

  16. I believe Algonquin Township cares for about 50 miles of road.

  17. What are the requirements for posting notice of job openings and conducting job interviews?

    Are there other candidates for the job (if the job opening was made known)who might raise claims of having been passed over for reasons other than merit?

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