Former County Board Member Urges Members Not to Give Away Power

Former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster offers this opinion on the proposed ceding of legislative power to next year’s at-large elected County Board Chairman:

Ersel Schuster

Ersel Schuster

Past McHenry County Board Chairman, Tina Hill, State Representative Jack Franks and current County Board Chair, Joe Gottemoller, need to take a bow!

Not satisfied when voters said NO to the question of electing our county board chairman at large in 2012; they engineered a second vote in 2013, during a notoriously low voter turnout election, to accomplish their goal.

And yes, you can say these were two different questions.

Truth be told, county board members themselves didn’t have a clue of any differences other than the title of this NEW level of government.

County board members have called a May 1st special board meeting to take action on their updated board rules.

These rules will define how the chairman will interact with the 24 county board members.

As proposed, these rules give the chairman the ability to stack all committees with members who will deliver the chairman’s agenda.

Such power, handed to one person, is a reason the State of IL is in trouble; too few people are controlling elected boards and legislative bodies.

The 2013 county board committee charged with reviewing and recommending changes to the board rules, spent months addressing the issue of a more representative committee assignment process.

Control over committee assignments is one way to help ensure good government. The power brokers trounced the concept.

The public’s best interests would be served in dusting off the 2013 recommended changes and approving them.

Sad but true, these 3 people are now pushing to consolidate “other” governments.


Former County Board Member Urges Members Not to Give Away Power — 19 Comments

  1. Tell me that 24 County Board members are NOT too many!

    We don’t need 23 members at 20K plus, and a chairman at 75K+.

    Fewer would be better.

  2. Amen to “fewer are better”.

    Cut it to 12.

    It’s a joke to suggest otherwise.

    The only people sweating this argument are the 24 Board members.

    What does that say?

  3. I’m not so sure we aren’t tripping over dollars to pick up dimes by eliminating county board members.

    It seems the cost savings by doing so is minuscule relative to the size of the budget.

    And I’m not at all suggesting that we should not be looking to cutback where we can.

    But, I fear there is something bigger to consider here, which is the relinquishing of CONTROL of our government.

    We will soon have County Board Chairman who is elected by a generally uninformed populace.

    This will quickly become “controlled”, not by the person deemed most fit by his peers, but by the candidate with the biggest campaign account.

    Once Chairmanship is “bought”, the next inline to be controlled would be the board members themselves…

    Four members per district have a much better shot at remaining independent/uncontrolled/untainted by influence than, say, two members per district.

    Cutting the board to 12 members, as I’ve heard being tossed around, would mean only 7 members (the majority of 12) would need to be bought/influenced in order to usurp our entire county government.

    Conspiracy Theory?


    Very real occurrence in other government bodies throughout our country?


  4. The referendum in 2012 was not about directly electing a county board chair.

    Nice straw man, however Ersel.

  5. Regardless, what’s the point of her letter?

    The chairman can already do pretty much everything she complained about.

  6. Refreshing comments by Mr. Serwatka!!

    The problem with Illinois government is NOT the number of people involved in public office, it is the voters!

    Unless Republicans can come up with a magic way to create more knowledgeable voters, the decline of this state will continue unabated.

    Voters elected Durbin AGAIN.

    They elected Mark Kirk. They elected all of the current Board members.

    They voted for the Constitution which ensures continued tax increases to fund public pensions while private sector income declines.

    They voted for increases in our taxes for 708 Board, Valley Hi and the Senior Citizen tax which has done very little for the senior citizen but sure created some well paid positions in not-for-profits.

    Paul is correct – our politics are controlled by money – not in what we pay for the positions but the amount of money involved in campaigns!


  7. con: Your suggestion is a violation of the First Amendment.

    Please review the Buckley Decision and Citizens United.

    Now the Chairmanship is open to the highest bidder.

    Remember when hapless Bob Gobben traded his vote for the Vice Chairmanship in charge of going to things Ann Hughes didn’t want to go to?

    He was aced out in the next election because he shot a friend in the back, ala Mike Brown.

    The Chairman should be elected directly, we don’t need 24 retired politicians or neer do well lawyers, and they all should run in alternating double member districts.

  8. Keep a full board and eliminate the fringe benefits that some members take.

    I really don’t want to live in Joe Gottoller’s idea of McHenry County.

  9. We really need Ursel back on the board.She was one who thought about the taxpayers ,not herself.

  10. Ken Keohler has submitted a proposed amendment that would allow the Members to elect a Vice Chair and have the Vice Chair pick the members of the Committee on Committees which in turn selects the Chairs and members of the various committees, thereby taking that power away from the popularly elected Chair.

  11. There is no impending event requiring action on May 1st?

    If not, postpone the decision to allow more time to thoroughly vet the proposed rules?

  12. What the Keohler proposed amendment would do is effectively create a “Majority Leader ” position similar to that of Michael Madigan.

    By statute the Vice Chair cannot be paid any additional salary but he/she would wield considerable political power having effectively appointed all ten of the Committee Chairs.

    This was never brought up to Management Services during the four months we have been discussing the Rules (which I voted against).

    It would be a very radical change.

  13. wrong McHenry voter, Please get another name as you are using mine

  14. I have taken the other McHenry voter’s post down and will continue to do so. That way people will not be confused.

    I ask the second McHenry voter to select another name.

  15. Thanks Cal, I really don’t think they would want some of my comments. l.o.l.

  16. From the article.

    “The 2013 county board committee charged with reviewing and recommending changes to the board rules, spent months addressing the issue of a more representative committee assignment process.”

    What was the name of that committee?

    Was it a standing committee?

    Management Services Committee?

    Here are the current McHenry County Board committees

    Standing Committees
    – Building Projects Committee
    – Finance & Audit Committee
    – Human Resources Committee
    – Law & Justice Committee
    – Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee
    – Liquor & License Committee
    – Management Services Committee
    – Natural & Environmental Resources Committee
    – Planning & Development Committee
    – Pollution Control Facility Committee
    – Public Health & Human Services Committee
    – Transportation Committee

    Other Commissions
    – Stormwater Commission
    – Senior Service Grant Commission > County Government > Departments A – I > County Board > County Board Committees


    Each appointed Board and Commission “reports to” a Committee.

    – Agricultural Areas Committee
    – Agricultural Conservation Easement and Farmland Protection Commission
    – Animal Control
    – Board of Review
    – Board of Building Code of Appeals
    – Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
    – Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
    – McHenry County Conservation District
    – Crystal Lake Rural Fire Protection District
    – Emergency Telephone System Board (911)
    – Ethics Commission
    – Farmland Assessment Review Committee
    – Fox River Grove Fire Protection District
    – Harvard Community Fire Protection District
    – McHenry Township Fire Protection District
    – Greenwood Drainage District
    – Board of Health
    – Hebron Drainage District
    – Historic Preservation Commission
    – Housing Authority
    – Housing Commission
    – Lake in the Hills Sanitary District
    – Local Emergency Planning Committee
    – Marengo Rescue Squad
    – Mental Health (708) Board
    – Public Aid Appeals Board
    – Public Building Commission (PBC)
    – Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
    – Metra
    – Pace
    – Senior Services Grant Commission
    – Sheriff’s Merit Commission
    – Stormwater Management Commission
    – Transit Plan Implementation Task Force
    – T.B. Care and Treatment Board
    – University of Illinois Extension
    – Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority
    – Valley-Hi Cemetery Board
    – Valley-Hi Operating Board
    – Veterans Assistance Executive Board
    – Workforce Investment Board (WIB)
    – Zoning Board of Appeals > County Government > Departments A – I > County Board > County Board Appointments


    12 Standing Committees to which the McHenry County Board appoints members.

    2 Other Commissions to which the McHenry County Board appoints members.

    42 Boards & Commissions to which the McHenry County Board appoints members.

    56 Standing Committees, Other Commissions, and Boards & Commissions to whic the McHenry COunty Board appoints members.

  17. Note that the “Committee on Committees” does not appear as a committee in the above listings.

    Where is the County’s description of the committee?

    Poor transparency on the part of the McHenry County Board about the Committee of Committees.

    There are no 2014 McHenry County Board Minutes for the Committee of Committees meetings that were held.

    McHenry County Blog has some archives so one can learn more about the Committee of Committees.

    Gottemoller’s Committee Spoils for His Supporters

    Tina Hill’s Committee on Committees’ Recommendations for Committee Assignments

    McHenry County Board Committee Chairmen – Almost Final

    Tina Hill’s Initial Committee Assignments

    County Board’s Committee on Committees Meets Friday at 9 AM

  18. The Committee on Committees is a temporary committee which is not described on the County Board Committees website but is described in the McHenry County Board Rules.

    McHenry County Board Rules
    September 3, 2013

    Table of Contents
    Committee on Committees – Page 11

    3. Chairman
    The Chairman, with the assistance of a Committee on Committees, shall select all standing committee members for ratification by the County Board.

    17. Appointments
    County Board Member Liaison Positions
    County Board Member liaison positions shall be assigned at the time the committee on committees makes assignments to the standing committees and shall follow the same process as outlined in Section 18.

    The County Board Chairman may remove a County Board member from an appointed liaison position and name a replacement subject to approval of a majority of all County Board members.

    18. Committee on Committees
    At the Organizational Meeting, the Chairman of the County Board shall appoint a Committee on Committees to assist in the selecting standing committee memberships.

    The Committee shall be comprised of one (1) member from each County Board District.

    Neither the County Board Chairman nor the County Board Vice-Chairman shall be a member of the Committee on Committees.

    Following the Organizational meeting, the Committee on Committees shall meet to make recommendations to the Chairperson on committee membership, chair, and vice chairman assignments.

    To the extent practical, the Chairman of a standing committee shall have served as a member of that standing committee in the prior year.

    The Committee on Committee shall cease to exist following the approval of the standing committee assignments by the full County Board.

    19. Standing Committees

  19. The best rules for selecting County Committee Chairs and members so the County Committees, Boards, and Commissions best represent the people.

    We’ll see what comes out of the meeting today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *