Joe Tirio Attacks Nepotism and Patronage in His Recorder Campaign

There has been criticism of township government on the grounds that some township officials hire relatives.

“Nepotism” is the word used.

Now McHenry County Recorder of Deeds candidate Joe Tirio is using nepotism and patronage in his campaign.

What you see below may be a lot bigger than the business card Tirio was handing out at the fundraiser for judicial candidate Demetri Tsilmingras on Tuesday night.

Here’s the front of the card:

Joe Tirio attacks nepotism and patronage in his campaign for Recorder of Deeds.

Joe Tirio attacks nepotism and patronage in his campaign for Recorder of Deeds.

The back of the card follows:

Note that Joe Tirio words his attack on "Nepotism, patronage, waste and political favors" are attacked on Joe Tirio's card, but he does not link it to the Recorder's office. He says electing him will send "a message to other politicians."

Note that Joe Tirio words his attack on “Nepotism, patronage, waste and political favors” are attacked on Joe Tirio’s card, but he does not link it to the Recorder’s office. He says electing him will send “a message to other politicians.”

Mote the name of Tirio’s web site:


Joe Tirio Attacks Nepotism and Patronage in His Recorder Campaign — 45 Comments

  1. So this voter can tell if this is a real and consistent stance against patronage/cronyism or one of convenience, I am interested in Joe’s opinion of a politician hiring a former campaign manager as a law enforcement supervisor despite an ugly criminal record?

  2. I use the Recorder’s Office on an almost daily business, as I do the Recorder’s Offices in other counties, Phyllis Walter’s has never allowed any patronage workers or cronyism!

    It is now the most efficient and modern Recorder’s office in the State, every document is readily available in digital format, not so in other counties.

    I’m sticking with the current staff, no reason to change.

    Joni Smith will do a great job.

  3. Re: “There has been criticism of township government on the grounds that some township officials hire relatives.”

    Interesting you bring forward this comment but exclude reference to the County Clerk who hired her husband to supervise our elections.

    Subsequent to hiring him she attempted a job reclassification to increase his salary.

    Several people who post here refer to the nepotism in Algonquin Township.

    The residents of that Township have stamped their approval on the practice election after election.

    We have yet to have the stamp of approval or disapproval placed on the nepotism in the County Clerk’s office.

    The County Clerk’s husband was a member of the Operating Engineers union.

    I do believe Joni Smith’s husband has a similar association.

  4. Can anyone tell me the last time there was a contested election in AL Township for Road Commissioner?


    What are favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism?

    As favoritism is the broadest of these related terms, we’ll start with its definition.

    Basically favoritism is just what it sounds like; it’s favoring a person not because he or she is doing the best job but rather because of some extraneous feature-membership in a favored group, personal likes and dislikes, etc.

    Favoritism can be demonstrated in hiring, honoring, or awarding contracts.

    A related idea is patronage, giving public service jobs to those who may have helped elect the person who has the power of appointment.

    Favoritism has always been a complaint in government service.

    In 2002, a survey from the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management found that only 36.1 percent of federal workers thought promotions in their work units were based on merit. (Government Executive Magazine, “Playing Favorites,” by Brian Friel, October 2004).

    They believed that connections, partisanship, and other factors played a role.

    Cronyism is a more specific form of favoritism, referring to partiality towards friends and associates.

    As the old saying goes,

    “It’s not what you know but who you know,”

    or, as blogger Danny Ferguson put it,

    “It’s not what you don’t know; it’s who your college roommate knows.”

    Cronyism occurs within a network of insiders-the “good ol’ boys,” who confer favors on one another.

    Nepotism is an even narrower form of favoritism.

    Coming from the Italian word for nephew, it covers favoritism to members of the family.

    Both nepotism and cronyism are often at work when political parties recruit candidates for public office.

    What do favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism have to do with ethics?
    One of the most basic themes in ethics is fairness, stated this way by Artistotle:

    “Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.”

    Favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism all interfere with fairness because they give undue advantage to someone who does not necessarily merit this treatment.

    In the public sphere, favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism also undermine the common good.

    When someone is granted a position because of connections rather than because he or she has the best credentials and experience, the service that person renders to the public may be inferior.

    Also, because favoritism is often covert (few elected officials are foolish enough to show open partiality to friends, and family), this practice undercuts the transparency that should be part of governmental hiring and contracting processes.

    What ethical dilemmas do favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism present?

    Probably the biggest dilemma presented by favoritism is that, under various other names, few people see it as a problem.

    Connections, networking, family-almost everyone has drawn on these sources of support in job hunting in the private spherre.

    And everyone can point to instances where cronyism or nepotism is an accepted fact of life in political sphere, as well.

    John F. Kennedy, for example, appointed his brother Robert as attorney general.

    Every president and governor names close associates to key cabinet positions.

    Mayors put those they know and trust on citizens committees and commissions.

    Friends and family can usually be counted on for loyalty, and officeholders are in a good position to know their strengths.

    So what’s the problem?

    The first issue is competence.

    For cabinet level positions, an executive will probably be drawn to experienced, qualified candidates, but historically, the lower down the ladder, the more likely for someone’s brother-in-law to be slipped into a job for which he is not qualified.

    The American Civil Service Act was passed in 1883 in large part because so many patronage jobs, down to dogcatcher, were being filled by people whose only qualification for employment was their support for a particular party or candidate.

    Also, the appearance of favoritism weakens morale in government service, not to mention public faith in the integrity of government.

    Reasonable people will differ about the appointment of friends and family in high-level positions, but public officials should be aware that such choices can give the appearance of unfairness.

    According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 state legislatures have found the practice of nepotism troubling enough to enact laws against it.

    Others may restrict the hiring of relatives or friends in more general conflict-of-interest rules.

    Public officials should also note that dilemmas involving favoritism extend beyond hiring and contracting practices to the more general problem of influence.

    Golfing partners, people who come over for Sunday dinner, members of the same congregation all are likely to exert a greater influence over an official than a stranger might.

    Council members, mayors, and legislators must make special efforts to ensure that they hear all sides of an issue rather than just relying on the views of the people they know.

    Further, many conscientious lawmakers have discovered that they must change their patterns of socializing when their work involves many decisions affecting friends and associates.

    At the least, they may choose to recuse themselves from votes where social relationships may exert undue influence.

    Joe Tirio Announces for Recorder

    Posted on 09/14/2015 by Cal Skinner

    “Tirio’s wife is Karen Tirio. She got more votes than anyone else when she ran for the McHenry County College Board this past spring.”

    While Joe’s seems to be a qualified candidate, if elected, part of the reason he’ll win the vote is favoritism, patronage, cronyism, and even a tad of nepotism.

    If you disagree with that last statement, maybe you need to reread what was copy and pasted above again.

  6. Mike W, 1997!

    Always trying to justify eliminating township with nonsense rants.

    Say after the women hired her husband at the county, you and a few other board members went on the anti nepotism rant at the county board meeting, what measures have you or the others offered in the form of legislation/guidelines to correct the very problems you keep highlighting (whining about)?

    The county payroll is full of family members, yet I have not heard squat for y’ll.


  7. Tirio is the RIGHT person for the job.

    He has the background and experience needed.

    Smith has listed “experience in the business industry” on her resume.


    The new county clerk hired her husband.

    Good chance that Hill would hire relatives and well as Smith would.

    Why don’t Smith and Hill make the same pledge not to???

  8. For those of you unaware, Joni Smith is the Chief Deputy to Phyllis Walters, the current Recorder, and is the only candidate to have ANY experience with the office.

    She is very well qualified, as for Joni hiring her husband, that is so far fetched it is not worth comment, maybe Hillary will pick Bill for VP, should we get a pledge.

    Tirio is way off base.

  9. @butseriouslynow & Cautious Voter:

    After our Clerk’s election and placement of her husband, I spoke publicly at the County Board meeting (in her presence) of my disapproval of hiring her husband.

    At that time, I had no intention of running for any office.

    I was, and am, tired of some politicians getting into office for the purpose of enriching themselves at my expense while not providing commensurate value.

    Even if it could be argued that the Clerk’s husband was the best fit for the role, I still wouldn’t have hired him because it would have created the appearance of impropriety.

    That appearance would cause me to have to spend time and resources defending my decision and would harm my reputation, as it has harmed hers.

    It would be smarter to go back to the employment market and find a better qualified prospect that the people of the county could stand behind.

    @JimB: I’m glad to hear that you have had good experiences with the Recorder’s office.

    I do think Ms. Walters has done a great job, especially in terms of her work to modernize their processes.

    For what it’s worth, every organization I have ever led has been recognized for exemplary service.

    In fact, in 2007 I was asked to provide input to NetPromoter’s Certified Professional program.

    Having said all this, how can you say there’s no cronyism in that office?

    Did you know that Joni’s Daughter works in the office?

    To all, ask yourself this;

    What are the chances that, out of the tens of thousands of people in the employment marketplace in this area, that a family member or benefactor would be the most qualified for a job?

    At best, that number is one out of however many are in the market for a new job.

    Isn’t it more likely that they got the job because of who they know or are related to?

    Assuming that is true, doesn’t that make nepotism/cronyism/patronage tantamount to employee theft?

    I encourage you all to visit my website and learn more about me and what I stand for.

    You might notice the absence of political endorsements.

    That is not an oversight or absence due to my inability to get endorsements.

    Quite to the contrary, it is a strong statement that I do not rely on political favoritism to get the job done.

    I instead would guide you to my LinkedIn page where you can read the recommendations of the people I’ve worked with over the years.

    These are people that have thought enough of me and my work to take the time to write a few words about me.

    They are not politicians that I asked for their endorsement in order to improve my appearance in this race.

    Ultimately, the choice is yours.

    Choose thoughtfully.

  10. The Nob, I read every word.

    I don’t see the connection?

    Tirio’s wife is in a 100% voluntary position at the community college. (as any school brd)

    she is a public servant- works for free.

    It’s not at all like Joe Tirios two opponents :

    where one got her husband a great paying job at the DMV only because of her lifelong political connection in the county-and so goes for their offspring. (Just like her father did for her 30 yrs ago) OR

    the other opponant’s husband Who belongs to Union 150 and is now trying to bully everyone into voting for his low-tiered Recorder office working wife who can’t even write a letter to save her life.

    There must be a job in his future or their kids’ future.

    She (Joni) also stated in her letter that she “knows the challenges at the Recorders office” either indicating that Walters didn’t have her ducks in a row?

    Or that Walters or Joni herself don’t have the leadership qualities to fix it?

    And just what IS ‘the Business Industry”.

    Where is the actual resume?

    Conspicuously absent ,because she doesn’t have one.

    How is she going to begin to lead others in that office who have more responsibility and salary than she?

    It’s going to fall apart just as the Clerk’s office is and morale will plummet also.

    And women took money from the Unions.

    The payoff for that alone is going to cost the taxpayers!!!

    This and other positions at the courthouse’s administration should be Hired – not elected!

    Tirio has the resume!

    He also has the guts to come right out and pledge he won’t partake in nepotism and other bullshit plaguing politics and taxpayer paid admin offices for years!!

    My guess is that this ‘typically ignored race’ is gonna reveal more uglies than you can shake a stick at .

    While I was typing this my lovely spouse informed me that Joni is already taking part in nepotism, as she has her daughter working at the Recorders office.

    So, there you have it!

    Both women have the uglies I was talking about a paragraph up.

    Sure didn’t mean to write a stink in’ book, but you needed a little clarification on yours, Nob-Iola!

  11. I still haven’t heard anything that shows how he can improve the office

  12. Everybody will find out that the only money that Joe he will get is from the elderly people. Just like Kirk r

  13. The Sheriff DID NOT HIRE HIS SON.

    His son is a college student and only set up an UNPAID volunteer program.

    He had experience with doing that at his church.

    The kid has had summer jobs outside of the county every year and including this summer.

    STOP with the bs.

  14. Inish, then you haven’t looked at his resume. (it’s on his website)

    That would cause you to have to actually read.

    Fred, good one!

    You’re hilarious, Sir.

    JimB, guess you don’t know from which hole to speak.

    Smith’s husband would most certainly be looking for a cush job for himself and his kids.


    Who’s off base? You.


    Well, back to work for me. (I don’t have a job I can blow off because I answer to my Mom, Spouse, Sibling, Girlfriend…

  15. Sheriff also hired a person named Matt?

    and Sandra.

    oops what’s that called

  16. Before you go on attack against Joni you need to get your facts right .

    1 Joni didn’t hire her daughter .

    2 neither one of the other candidates has no experience in the recorders office .

    So why not let t

  17. @Bubbly Dan: I don’t think anyone said that Joni hired her daughter

  18. Herb my guess is you dont want to see the connections.

    James K, are you the same person who has written LTE in the NWH?

    If so some good stuff over all.

    Problem is we don’t know many of the facts and how ironical some candidates can be to get elected.

    Protesting is a deal we need more of, not less.

    I might vote for Joe, if no real rocks are thrown his way.

    To early to play follow the lip.


  19. First you all have it wrong.

    Nepotism is when you hire someone unqualified for the position.

    Second, Joni did not hire her daughter, Phyllis Walter’s did.

    Third, County Clerk, hired her husband with only 3 months before an election and a staff that was not prepared to get the job done.

    Also, her husband is not a 150 operator.

    Do any of you really know what goes into these positions the Sheriff, Recorder, Clerk, Circuit Clerk.

    You sit and spout off her on a blog without even having a clue and rather are rude and mean.

    WOW society has really become a real piece of $hit.

    You pick on the Sheriff for hiring Sandy Salgado and Matt.

    The fact is that people need to be able to trust who is getting the job done when it is important.

    Why not ask is the job getting done not who they know and then criticize for job well done or not.

  20. @Landon a resume is not a proposal of solutions, it is a list of prior jobs.

    His wife is an elected official making then as guilty of being a political family as the others identified.

    Thanks for clarifying your level of intellect by resorting to 3rd grade tactics.

  21. @Stand4Truth: Check your definitions.

    From webster:

    Nepostim: the unfair practice by a powerful person of giving jobs and other favors to relatives

  22. @Wow: Maybe I’m missing the connections.

    I don’t know anything about Matt.

    Re Sandra, if you are referring to Sandra Salgado, I believe she worked for the Lake County Sheriff prior to coming here.

    While I haven’t examined her resume, I assume that there were some transferrable skills.

    I really can’t comment on either case as I don’t have all the facts.

  23. It sounds to me that Tirio is attempting to create an issue that does not exist.

    I misspoke, Joni Smith is a Supervisor in the Recorder’s Office and well equipped to take over the operation of the Recorder’s Office.

    Yes, Joni’s daughter does work there but was hired by Phyllis Walters long before anyone knew that Joni would be running for the office.

    Good luck to all of the candidates, but don’t create issues that have no basis in fact.

  24. Just curious Sandra also worked for the Lake County SO.

    Her good work at both held her in high quality for the job she now holds.

    Someone I would employe in a heartbeat.

  25. Inish, you’re whack.

    Isn’t his wife is a public servant at MCC (that means she works for free) not hired in a political office.

    Sorry but your ignorance mandates 3rd grade language so you can get a grasp on the difference between nepotism/patronage hiring.

    It there something in the water making people with wrinkles act so stupidly???

  26. Inish, his resume lists proposed AND accomplished solutions in his former jobs.

    The other two have nothing on him.

    You must be a fan or beneficiary of nepotism and such, on the tax payers dime.

    Hill and Smith have yet to tell us what their plans are for making the office better.

    I’m sure they have no plans seeing they don’t even tackle the ethical issues such as Nepotism/Patronage Hiring, and and other things that run rampant in Mchenry county.

    Smith’s daughter is already working with her at the Recorders office.

    Surprise, Surprise!


  27. Joe, are you really claiming to know nothing about “Matt”?


    Are you just another local politico that is going to dodge that one so as not to anger the “Boys in charge”.

    Transparency…unless it is inconvenient and the local bosses don’t want it talked about?

  28. So let’s just make it a hypothetical if we need to play that game.

    You seem to making a strong case against patronage and cronyism.

    Let’s say a politician won an election to “clean up” a law enforcement agency he and is backers said we unethical.

    Then lets say this hypothetical politician hired an old friend, former campaign manager and fundraiser to a huge salary role as a law enforcement supervisory role despite an ugly criminal record that appears to include incidents around DUI and violence against women.

    Would you define that as a Joe Tirio huge thumbs up, or perhaps something that stinks a bit like patronage or cronyism?

  29. I don’t know how Sheriff Prim got into this thread, but in all reality, he has saved the tax payers millions of tax dollars.

    Would he have done that if he was out to build his own fiefdom at the tax payers expense.

    Now compare the McHenry County Sheriff’s office to Tina Hill, the County Clerk or Algonquin Township government.

    Tell me where they stand up for the tax payers.



    They have been in local government for far too long just to build their fiefdoms and nest eggs off the backs of the tax payers.

    I would vote for Joe Tirio.

    It’s time to instill term limits, these people won’t term limit themselves for a reason.

  30. JimB it doesn’t matter that Joni’s daughter started working there before she knew she was going to try for Recorder. It’s a government agency that has hired her daughter because Joni worked there. That’s nepotism. And that’s paying a family member with taxpayer dollars.

  31. joe u dodging another question , what about matt?

    ask your friend joe alger , right, come on man !!!

  32. You claim the clerk is nepotism what about the sheriff and what about being honest with your self the clerk haas saved 100000 of dollars since took office but rather you claim false nepotism claims what if she was not married to individual you claim is at issue than what would you say.

    Nadda because none issue find I real issue to claim otherwise move on mr tirio my real airio and sirio not a real senerio

  33. I still support Joe over Tina Hill for this position.

    It really is a no-brainer, although I disagree with him on a few local issues and some of the other politico’s he supports locally he really is the better of these two candidates.

    However, deeply disappointed he is choosing as with seemingly all other local politico’s to not be willing to take a stand on if a local police commander should have an ugly criminal record.

    I guess the fact that all local politico’s avoid this specific issue and refuse to comment on it speaks for itself somewhat.

    Still think it leaves us with poor representation as a whole and leaves us with a huge ethical hole in perhaps having the lowest satisfactory acceptable standards known.

    We seem to have learned nothing from how so many blind eyes were turned in Fox Lake, because he seems like such a nice guy.

    It seems more relevant than ever to be asking county leadership their stance on police commanders with ugly criminal arrest and conviction records.

  34. I don’t know the more I read about all the cover up and ignoring that went on in Fox Lake I guess we really do need to drive for answers around all elected county officials and if we should be giving such a free pass to appointed police commanders having ugly criminal records.

    It is just to relevant and timely and Joe is just another politician pulling a Fox Lake and trying to ignore it and bury their heads in the sand.

    We deserve better and our County situation is involves actual arrests and convictions unlike Fox Lakes politico’s ignoring their guy so unethically.

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