County Board Chairman Hopefuls Face Off

Joe Gottemoller and Mike Walkup waiting for the forum to begin.

Joe Gottemoller and Mike Walkup waiting for the forum to begin.

Who has the biggest conflict of interest seemed to be the largest contention when McHenry County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller and would-be County Board Chairman Mike Walkup took the McHenry County College stage Thursday night.

Mike Walkup

Mike Walkup

Appearing at a League of Women Voters Forum, Walkup charged Gottemoller had represented developers, real estate interests, townships, special interests (more were in his list) which put Gottemoller in conflict with his public duties.

He pointed specifically to Gottemoller’s representation of the Oakwood Hills Peaker Plant developer when his constituents there strongly opposed the project.

Walkup also chastised Gottemoller for voting against putting township consolidation referendums on the ballot while he was serving as Grafton Township’s attorney.

Gottemoller said that he had withdrawn himself from consideration “when there was an issue.”Walkup

Joe Gottemoller

Joe Gottemoller

Gottemoller, on the other hand, said Walkup had a conflict of interest because he represented township opponent Bob Anderson in court in the 1990’s, but still voted on the township consolidation referendum question on the County Board.

Walkup said he would phase out his disability and Social Security law practice to be a full-time Chairman, if elected, while Gottemoller planned to be a part-time chairman, continuing his law practice.

Gottemoller pointed to economic growth encourage with county incentives to ease the property tax burden, while Walkup asked whether people wanted McHenry County to end up looking like DuPage County and Schaumburg.

Concerning county roads, Walkup told of having briefly being able to stop a roundabout south of Island Lake, but having seen the decision reversed and having helped kill the Continuous Flow Intersection the County Highway Department had advocated for the intersection of Randall and Algonquin Roads.

“Right now traffic is stable,” Walkup said.

Gottemoller touted working with local, state and Federal officials to expand State Routes 31 and 47 to four lanes.

“Both should have been done a generation ago.”

He also supports building an interchange with the Tollway at Route 32 south of Marengo.

McHenry County is “the biggest county without an interstate interchange,” he pointed out.


County Board Chairman Hopefuls Face Off — 40 Comments

  1. There is clearly more conflict of interest with Gottemoller.

    And taxpayers shouldn’t have to settle for a conflicted Part-time County board chairman when it’s clearly a fulltime position and taxpayers are paying a Full-time salary and expecting you to be available.

    I wish we had more choices but of the two, Walkup is the best choice.

  2. I really don’t want to vote for either of these people.

    I’d love to see the Libertarian Party field a candidate in the general election.

  3. Joe: Do we need the interchange south of Marengo to speed the outflow of McHenry County residents?

    Both GOP candidates are lawyers – strike one.

    Both GOP candidates are long time politicians – strike two.

    Both are already County Board members and do not have a voting record to support reducing taxes / regulations in the County – strike three.

    Sure wish someone else had stepped forward!

    One GOP candidate has a background working to support development in the county (the paving of farm land), thereby reducing the ag environment.

    One GOP candidate has a background in increasing the number of people drinking from the public tax trough.

    If either candidate comes out with a position that he will work to have Peter Austin removed as County Manager and replace him with a conservative, he will have my vote.

    I am fed up with County union contracts CONTINUOUSLY increasing the tax burden in the County.

  4. Joe has only been in political office 4 years…hardly long time. Gottemoller has held the county levy flat for the past 3 years and reduced county headcount by 15%

    Those are some good accomplishments in my book.

  5. ted smith: Gottemoller has done nothing!

    He is a career politician who had eyes on being State’s attorney but was told to not run by the establishment GOP so he ran for County Board and now is running for Chairman.

    He is solely responsible for the fiasco of a Township Consolidation committee and putting the inept Schofield in charge (Schofield is being credited by some for work actually being done by County full time staff).

    HE has NOT reduced the headcount.

    The reason for staff reduction is the fact that we are losing population, growth has almost stopped and union contracts keep getting approved with higher wage costs to force a reduction in workforce instead of increasing the budget.

    HE is not responsible for the slowdown in the increase of County Board expenditures (it is a slowdown and not flat).

    The taxpayers are responsible!

    Comments on this blog and communications from taxpayers to all 24 board members are responsible.

    Election of a few anti-tax voices such as Evertsen, Gasser, Hammerand, and the sometime voices of Walkup, Provenzano, Barnes, Aavang, Kurtz, Rein, Wheeler helped but the real reason is the noise from taxpayers who have lost 33 % of their real estate investments!!

    Check the voting records of the Board members and remember that Gottemoller now always gets to vote last.

    He is in a position to vote whichever way makes him look better to the voting public.

  6. I really wish there would have been a question as to why a County Board Chairman should receive and $90K salary and benefits for what is a part time job in which little is required… and as CBC they are not allowed to vote.

    It’s really a contest of who you want to get the paycheck… that’s about it.

  7. I find it very troubling neither one of these two licensed lawyers running for Chairman of MCBOT were aware of the massive accumulation of taxpayer dollars at Valley Hi and then when they found out never asked the question as to whether accumulation of taxpayer dollars in the “Tens of Millions of Dollars” at Valley Hi was legal or not?

    Because had Gottenmoller or Walkup asked this obvious question each would have discovered the issue of this grotesque largesse of reserves at Valley Hi was no longer one of “legislation” but one of “legality”.

    Rather than do minimal due diligence, Gottenmoller or Walkup continued to support annual levies at Valley Hi without raising the legality of it acting with impunity against the very people they were elected to serve.

    They did this all the while taking the salary and full time benefits MCBOT approved for themselves. Had attorneys Gottenmoller or Walk-up done minimal research on the subject they would have learned legal limitations on accumulation of reserves (taxpayer funds) are between 1x or 2x necessary to operate Valley Hi.

    MCBOT was acting illegally in the ongoing levying of Valley Hi totaling more than 35 Million Dollars or 7x funds necessary to operate Valley Hi on annual basis.

    The Illinois Supreme Court some 60 years ago spoke on this subject in People ex re Harding v. C&N.W Ry Co., 413 Ill. 93 (1952) opining:

    “Where a balance is on hand amounting to a little less than 2 years requirements, as established by recent prior experience, a levy is unnecessary. Levies which result in an unnecessary accumulation of funds are invalid”

    (People ex rel. Toman v. Grendada Apartment Hotel Corp., 36 Ill. 41).

    Also see, Illinois Appellate Court Decision , People ex rel. Kelly v B&O.R. Co., 376 Ill 393 wherein it held:

    “In levying to meet the requirements of expenditures the amount of money on hand and in the process of collection should be considered. The unnecessary accumulation of money in the public treasury is unjust to the people and it is against public policy of law to raise taxes faster than they are likely to be needed. The policy of the law is that no taxing district shall be permitted to accumulate unnecessary surplus from taxes collected but should confine their levies to the amount actually needed to be determined annually.”

    It is well settled under Illinois law through a myriad of case law that levies which result in unnecessary accumulation of funds are invalid. People ex rel. Reeves v. Bell, 309 Ill. 387. They are illegal and void. (See People ex rel Brenza v Fleetwood, 413 Ill. 530 at p. 551; People ex rel. Toman v Signode Steel Strapping Co., 380 Ill. 633).

    In the recent case of People ex rel Toynton v. Commonwealth Edison Company, 285 Ill.App.3d 357 (1996) the Illinois Appellate Court held:

    “Based on our review of applicable case law, we do not agree with the argument that a taxpayer cannot meet its burden of showing an excess accumulation unless the accumulation is at least 2.84 times the average annual expenditure . . . We conclude that a tax objector can meet is burden to show excessive accumulation by presenting evidence that the accumulation in the fund exceeds two or three times the annual expenditures for the fund.”

    The primary job of MCBOT is to prepare a budget and levy based upon that budget or otherwise stated obtain funds from taxpayer necessary to operate government on an annual basis; nothing more, nothing less.

    In this regard, Gottenmoller and Walk-up along with the rest of MCBOT have failed the taxpayers of McHenry County and that is why each will get my vote, A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE as I intend to the leave this portion of my ballot empty.

  8. Gottemoller has acted like a bully since he was made County Board Chairman.

    As soon as he was in place, he rewarded his supporters with committee chairmanships and placement on committees and punished those who supported someone else.

    He ran a mess of the Township Consolidation review, putting an empty pant suit in as chairman, bullied those who opposed his thoughts and did more pirouttes (sp?) than a ballerina.

    Forget that prior to his ascendancy, he has NOT been an advocate for county residents.

    If you don’t believe me, ask anyone from Oakwood Hills.

    Whatever you think Mike Walkup’s sins are, he is clearly a better choice.

  9. Walkup is Democrat, has been one for years, and now that his practice has deteriorated, needs a government job.

    So now he tries to tell us he has made the metaphysical conversion to becoming a Republican.

    The people who know him best, have rejected him as Precinct Committeemen and Township Supervisor (lost to a write-in)

    His street name in the Community is “The Rat”, for obvious reasons.

    If you want an Obama clone as the Chairman, Walkup is your….Rat.

  10. County Board Chair is a FULL-TIME job.

    We need someone who will not have conflict of interests as Gottemoller has, AND who is able to work at this full time as Walkup will.

    Gottemoller has defended corporations that want to do harm to the county and doesn’t seem to understand conflict or thinks it doesn’t apply to him.

    I wish someone else would have run for this.

    We’ve only got 2 to choose from.

    It will be choosing which one will do the least harm.

    And that’s Walkup.

    And what Paul Greenlee said above, is typical of the establishment politics in this county.

    Vote for a reformer or be saddled with troubles.

    Walkup is the best choice between the two.

  11. Joe backed out of supporting the peaker plant.

    He DECLINED to represent them.

    He has excused himself whenever there has been a possible confilict and NOT voted.

    Walkup voted during the township consolidation when he had represented a previous client on township consolidation.

    If anyone has a conflict it’s Walkup.

    Walkup also voted for fee and taxes increases on the CL park district.

    His “fight the taxes” is so hollow it is laughable.

  12. Wow!

    I LOVE all of the comments.

    Way to “hold their feet to the fire”, people!

    Very encouraging.

  13. Having read the previous emails, listened to the candidate’s positions, observed the two County Chairman candidates, and acknowledging that one of them will be elected, I’ll vote for Mike Walkup.

    During Joe Gottemoller’s term as County Board Chairman, There was obvious bias in assigning committee Chairmen, allowing votes that should have been overriden by recusals.

    I also question how many hours he actually spends at the County, and how many decisions he defers to Peter Austin, but still collects generous salary.

    This could very well apply to past County Chairmen; does Peter Austin run McHenry County? making many major decisions that should have had more broad input of County Board Chairman, Committees, and members.

    Gottemoller recited long list of Mayors, etc. supporting him, isn’t that what is called pendering?

  14. No matter which one gets elected they will pick people they want, bias will never go away.

    Who out there would want to work with people fighting your agenda?

    A. Nobody!!!!

    The consolidation issue is really a issue of elimination, the only way to save any $$$$ in taxes is eliminate services we receive personally.

    Neither Joe or Mike talks about that, and neither does almost everybody else.

    We like our pork, but their pork not so much, talk about disingenuous.
    Neither has a real plan, no good numbers or facts, it’s a shame.

  15. IF Joe Gottemoller backed out of representing the peaker plant, it was ONLY after an overwhelming groundswell of opposition from virtually all of the local residents.

    Joe backed off when he saw that it made him unpopular, and thus interfered with getting himself reelected.

    It was not the 1st time he tried to engineer a peaker plant over the objections of local people.

    He tried the same thing unsuccessfully ten years ago in District 6.

    Despite widespread local objection in Coral Township, he also originally represented the Fraternite of Notre Dame in their request for rezoning of its 95 acre property.

    He has a consistent and clear history of working against the citizenry, and pursuing profit instead of representing the best interests of our community.

    He is the preferred choice of developers, township officials, and special interests.

    He is a creature of, and a pawn of, the established interests in the County.

    These behaviors might be understandable if Joe Gottemoller was simply a lawyer and not an elected representative of the people.

    However, for someone wanting to be the Chairman of our County Board, these traits should render him unsuitable.

    He states publicly that if elected, he will continue to pursue his law practice.

    That is a conflict, and the Chairmanship should be a full-time undertaking. MIchael Walkup is not perfect.

    However, he is intelligent and has consistently demonstrated integrity and a deep understanding of the issues.

    He has diligently worked with the reform-minded and fiscally conservative members of the County Board to make sound policy & financial choices.

    It would be preferable if we had more candidates for this important office, but for me the choice is so clear.

    Someone the people can hopefully trust, versus someone we KNOW is clearly worthy of caution and distrust.

  16. Walkup, a Democrat lying to us like his hero, Obama, is a failing lawyer looking for a government paycheck.

    To know him is to dislike him, as his neighbors in the precinct and Nunda Township can testify.

  17. Like certain alderman in Chicago who operate law firms dealing with real estate tax reassessments, I find it troubling McHenry County voters may elect a Chairman of MCBOT who is going to keep his McHenry County zoning/real estate law practice active.

    While not a big fan of either Gottenmoller or Walkup given MCBOT mismanagement of taxation at Valley Hi and their failure to accept blame and articulate a solution, return of excessive reserves to taxpayers wrongfully assessed, this added negative concerning Gottenmoller forces me to reconsider my decision to leave this portion of my electoral ballot blank.

    So far Gottenmoller (and Walkup for that matter) has declined to comment on Valley Hi perhaps Gottenmoller would like to respond on this blog to many of the concerns expressed by others that electing him will create actual or apparent conflcts of interests between Gottenmoller as Chairman of MCBOT and Gottenmoller as lawyer in his McHenry County law practice?

    If most on this blog acknowledge there is no great difference between the talents Walkup and Gottenmoller have to offer why wouldn’t voters select the individual who is willing to commit full time to this job since it pays full-time salary.

  18. Questioning (above) preempted a few point I would make.

    Joe is greedier and not-really-so-bright.

  19. Can someone tell me, under the Elected County Chair form of government, besides running the meetings, what statutory responsibilities will either of these gentlemen have after they are elected and begin receiving a hefty salary?

    They can’t vote (as chairman), they are not administrators, so micromanaging is not required.

    They do not hire and they do not hire.

    So what is the point, besides their paycheck?

  20. Old Man -You hit the nail on the head without some long bloviating.

  21. EVERY chairman has put “their own” people as Committee Chairs.

    Exactly what law Practice is Walkup closing?

    Not agreeing with the agenda of someone does not make them incompetent.

    Walkup is running for both positions so that at the end of the day- he has health insurance and a job.

    You have never worried this much about who was the Chairman before….

    The current Chair makes $85 per year- and the only credentials needed is that you can win a popularity contest.

  22. Mike Walkup is a Democrat converted to RINO clothing (look it up), a long-time opponent of local control and smaller government, and a “Disability and Social Security Lawyer” (might a misinformed person call that “a Gaming the System Lawyer?”).

    Joe Gottemoeller is no prize pig, but anyone who votes for Mike Walkup needs to have their brain rewired…

  23. Robert, in McHenry County there is no differnce between the “Republican” or “Democrat” label, just take a look at the 41 Million Dollar reserve fund at Valley Hi.

    Last time i checked, it was a majority Republican Board which allowed for these series of illegal tax levies.

    Like Washington D.C. in McHenry County when it comes to “Republican”, “Democrat”, “Conservative” and “Liberal” we are left with the two card Monte!

  24. Michael Walkup, Attorney from his web page:

    “I am an attorney with over 30 years of experience in disability claims. In 2001 I was forced to close my full-time law office due to chemical sensitivities, primarily to photocopy paper and paper products, which cannot be avoided in a typical law practice. I had also been struggling for over two decades with Fibromyalgia and, later, with Chronic Fatigue.”

  25. Mr. Stieper:

    Are you trying to tell me that Gasser and Evertsen are not Republicans?

  26. Michael Walkup, Attorney from his web page:

    “I am an attorney with over 30 years of experience in disability claims. In 2001 I was forced to close my full-time law office due to chemical sensitivities, primarily to photocopy paper and paper products, which cannot be avoided in a typical law practice. I had also been struggling for over two decades with Fibromyalgia and, later, with Chronic Fatigue.”

    So, what, he wants to be County Board Chairman for the full health insurance..?

  27. trakker3: IMHO Peter Austin along with his sidekick, Ralph Sauerbaugh plus hand picked department heads, run the County – not the board.

    For the most part, everything he does is ‘rubber-stamped’ by the Board Chairman and his fellow Board members with a few exceptions: Hammerand, Gasser, Evertsen.

    I have also been told that Peter Austin goes on ‘double-dates’ with the Board member from Crystal Lake who is running for the State Legislature.

    Maybe that is why she has been receiving so many appointments to Chair ‘special’ committees?

  28. Gottemoller resigned from serving as Grafton township’s attorney when the heat was turned up, leaving the 2009-13 board without representation.

    He then recommended Ancel Glink to represent the township costing Grafton $500,000 in legal fees.

  29. That info is educational as was the following link, meet the dude who is running for our paycheck, insurance, and pension.

    There was not Waltz added, just the facts.

  30. Doesn’t Walkup have his own insurance and has for a long time?

  31. Gasser is no libertarian and the only reason people place him in the same category is Hammerand and Evertsen is because Gasser votes after Diane (and follows her lead).

    Wake up people, Gasser is not your Messiah, his actions are self serving and wants to further the Salgado corruption.

  32. According to the County numbers, both Joe and Mike take all the benefits offered.

  33. I have seen a lot of people on this blog who say Walkup is a RINO or Democrat.

    Let me ask you something.

    1. How? Which votes has he taken that have upset you as a conservative?

    2. Are these criticisms true of Walkup but not Gottemoller? In other words, how is Gottemoller more conservative than Walkup?

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