There’s talk on the McHenry County Board to getting rid of the Addendum to the County’s Statement of Economic Interest.
Here’s what I found in minutes of a Management Services Committee meeting:
Discussion: Statement of Economic Interest/Addendum Form
Ms. McClellan [County Clerk Mary] joined the committee members for a discussion on the Statement of Economic Interest and Addendum from that is required to be filed by certain individuals with the County Clerk.Ms. McClellan informed the committee members that beginning on February 17th, those individuals required to file the forms can do so electronically.
Staff is currently testing the program to make sure the system is running as anticipated. This system will help to eliminate the need to file the forms by mail.
This could result in a cost savings for the County.
Ms. McClellan questioned if the committee members wanted to continue with the use of the blue addendum form as she believes we are losing good people from applying to serve as appointees to some of the boards and commissions because of this requirement.
It was stated that no one will touch this issue during an election so it was suggested this discussion be held after the primary.
The forms are due in May so this won’t eliminate the need to file both forms 2.
Chairman [Tina] Hill reminded the committee members that they did have a conversation on this issue last year and the committee agreed to continue to require the filing of both forms.
Ms. [Anna May] Miller stated that some individuals feel the form is to intrusive and is not pertinent to the board for which they are appointed.She stated that she feels the requirements of the form has kept good people away from applying for these positions.
Mr. [Mike] Walkup suggested the issues previously may have been more about the appointments to the Conservation District Board and individuals that give property to the MCCD, which results in abated taxes.Chairman Hill suggested they wait until the new board takes office before they suggest any changes. candidates is the issue.
This is the reaction of a Friend of McHenry County Blog:
The purpose of the Addendum was and continues to be to reassure residents that government officials will avoid conflicts and will serve their constituents best interests.
It was brought to the County Board by the Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water (ALAW) at a time when there was general perception among the citizenry that certain County Board members had failed in this responsibility.
The Addendum requires up-front disclosure of the officials’ real property and business interests beyond that required by the state form.
The complaint raised in the Management Services Committee is that the form has “kept good people away from applying for these positions”.
In a county of over 300,000 people, if there is a scarcity of citizens who want to participate in their government, there is a bigger problem than a simple disclosure form.
And if it’s the same small handful of good people being appointed every time, then a disclosure of private interests that may present a conflict is even more important.
Volunteer boards in this County are responsible for large amounts of money and far-reaching policy decisions that can impact real property and business interests in the County.
Requiring disclosure of potential conflicts from volunteers to these powerful board positions makes sense.
It protects the board member, protects the public interest and removes any chance that there will be even the appearance of impropriety in public dealings.
Below is a copy of the Addendum that applicants must complete. It was provided along with the questionnaire to County Board candidates from the Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water: