Bob Kunz, Algonquin Township’s Assessor since 1973, tolk his staff today that he was not running for re-election next spring.
Kunz was Forrest B. Hare’s Chief Deputy when Hare retired in the middle of his second term.
The Township Board, headed by Supervisor George (Bam-Bam) Starr at the time, told Kunz that they would appoint him to replace Hare, if Kunz would promise not to run for election.
“I’ll water golf courses first,” Kunz told him.
When election time arrived, Kunz beat the appointed the fill-in Assessor and has served since.
Kunz’ assessments have been among the most uniform in McHenry County over the years.
Now, as then, candidates for the Office of Township Assessor have to have technical qualifications.
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Supervisor Starr was given the nickname of “Bam-Bam” by anonymous columnist “Phoenix,” who wrote for Richardson Publications, which published the Cary-Grove News, among other weekly newspapers in McHenry and Kane Counties. Starr used his gavel liberally in fights with Assessor Hare and uppity citizens like Cary’s Julie Covert.
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Kunz amplifies my memory of way back time with the following:
When Forrest retired in 1976 and I applied for the position, your dad recommended I declare upfront that whether or not I was appointed, I intended to run.
This created a problem for George Starr and the board.
I was told by Starr that there was no way they could appoint me, as my only experience in the field was at the hands of Forrest.
When they identified Ed Traub, former chief deputy whom Forrest let go in 1973, as their man, Ed told them he would not retain me if I would not promise to forego running in the upcoming primary.
During the meeting in which they made the appointment, George and the board brought me up into an executive session in his office and told me they intended to appoint Ed and they offered me a good raise (no numbers offered) if I would promise not to run, that Ed would stay for a single term, so I could run in 1981, presumably after I shed the stigma and influence of Forrest.
With your father’s advice in mind, I immediately told them I would not agree to those terms, that I would run in any event.
This situation put Ed Traub in a bind, as we got along great and he didn’t want to actually fire me.
However, shortly after the appointment, a reporter from Shirley Rickert’s River Valley Clarion, Craig Long, of the Long’s Department Store family in Cary and one of my high school classmates, called me for an account of Ed’s appointment and I told him.
The story made it onto the front page of the Clarion, above the fold, as they say.
Then, Marian Gallery of the Elgin Courier-News called me after reading the Clarion story and asked me whether I had considered that the offer of a pay raise in exchange for a promise not to run was a bribe and I responded I hadn’t thought of it that, so that got into the Courier-News, and Bill Cowlin was obligated to call me into his office to make a determination on the bribery angle.
Subsequently, Starr became livid, called Traub into his office and told him I had to go, so Ed fired me, and I worked at a golf course, Chalet, for a year and a half, during that period running in the February 1977 primary (only five or six polling stations as you remember!) and becoming assessor January 1978.
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Let me add that Bob Kunz is among the most honorable public servants I have ever observed.