The following letter was sent to each incoming McHenry County Board member by former member Ersel Schuster:
Overriding the historic 2016 election process is the message that people in America distrust elected officials.
They want accountability via enforcement of the “rule of law;” and, that the slightest hint of corruption is not acceptable.
On December 5, 2016, as you begin your term of office, you will come face to face with a new beginning.
A new beginning that will have dramatic, unintended consequences to the public you represent should you misjudge your role and responsibilities.
Having said that, I call to your attention the following component of your County Board Rules.
This section was designed to assure transparency and trustworthiness for our McHenry County Board.
1) Article II, Section 1.2 (page 10):
“Committee on Committees:
“At the Organizational Meeting, each County Board District shall, in open session and in sequential order by district, select one member to represent their district on the Committee on Committees.
“In the event of a tie, the most senior member shall prevail.
“In the event the seniority is equal (as determined by total number of years of service) a coin toss shall break the tie.
“The Committee shall be comprised of one (1) member from each County Board District and chaired by the County Board Chairman (who shall be a voting member.)”
This rule is critical as the procedures to be undertaken in your first action will dictate your commitment to an orderly process by which you will begin your official duties as elected officials and signal the public of your intent to serve them in a fair and open manner.
2) You will fill out a “Statement of Economic Interest.” Together with that document you will be asked to sign a “Disclosure” document identifying personal property holdings (other than personal residence) and to identify debt and/or connections to doing business with McHenry County.
This document identifies, for public scrutiny, any potential personal conflicts of interest between you and actions you will take as a member of the McHenry County Board.
Prior and returning boards members struggled with issues of transparency and accountability for decades.
The resulting procedures, enumerated above, have been designed to prevent the accumulation of power among County Board Members.
It lays open, for all to see, those areas where any member could use his/her position for personal gain.
As clearly as possible, I emphasis the importance of the request that you uphold and sustain the County Board Rules as they relate to transparency and accountability.
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Although new County Board Rules do not allow the incoming County Board Chairman (Jack Franks) to appoint County Board members to committees, in his member comments at the November 15th meeting of the Board, outgoing Chairman Joe Gottemoller suggested the members “let the new Chairman know” what committees on which they want to serve.
He also suggested members let the members of the Committee on Committees know their choices.
Under the old rules, the County Board Chairman appointed members of the Committee on Committees and determined who would serve on what committees.