There is a provision in the McHenry County Board Rules that allows its Chairman to appoint ad hoc committees.
It was designed, according to one member of the Management Services Committee who was there when the language was added, to allow the Chairman to appoint committees to cover subject matters not covered by a standing committee.
Think of the Township Consolidation Committee that Joe Gottemoller appointed.
That would not fit into any existing committee.
Under the Board Rules, the Management Services Committee is charged with writing the Rules for consideration by the full Board.
This didn’t fit the agenda of newly-elected County Board Chairman Jack Franks.
He announced that he was appointing ad ad hoc committee to be called the “Temporary Rules Committee.”
It would meet as soon as possible, meaning as soon as two days notice could be given under the Open Meetings Act requirement.
The meeting has been posted as I write this at 3:42, but Franks’ desired rule changes have not been posted for Board members and the public review.
The meeting will be held at 11 in the County Board Conference Room.
One of the increases in transparency that Franks promised in his comments, a copy of which I have filed for with a Freedom of Information Request, was that committee meetings would be recorded and streamed live during the meeting.
We’ll see if that is the case with this important meeting.
Franks appointed the following nine people to this Temporary Rules Committee:
- Robert Nowak
- Jim Heisler
- Joe Gottemoller
- Chuck Wheeler
- Paula Yensen
- Mike Skala
- Michelle Aavang
- Larry Smith
- Jim Kearns
Subjects Franks wanted added were Fiscal Impact and Debt Impact Notes, information which is generally included in committee recommendations, but not mentioned in the Rules.
Also to be considered would be a reduction in the number of committees, but their names have not been made public anywhere but on McHenry County Blog. You can read them here.
A third change probably is to allow Franks to appoint people to committees when members are absent.
This is an import from Springfield designed to allow House Speaker Mike Madigan to shield Democrats from tough committee votes. The Republican House Leader has similar priviledges under the House Rules.
During the meeting, Mike Walkup, a member of the Management Services Committee wondered why Franks’ proposals couldn’t be considered there, as other Rules changes have been in the past.
“The committee structure is going to change,” he replied.
He pledged it wold be
- “much more lean and efficient
- “fair, the fairest and most efficient way to do this”
The process and selections did not please Crystal Lake Board member Donna Kurtz.
After the meeting, she called the committee “a kankaroo court of Jack’s handpicked ‘Yes’ people, with the exception of Wheeler and Heisler.”
Vice Chairman Jeff Thorsen chided Franks for acting as if the consolidation from twelve to seven committees was “already a foregone conclusion.”
Franks interrupted Thorsen at this point.
“We can discuss it before,” he said. “Give me a call.”
“I’m talking about before the public,” Thorsen replied.
“To assume it’s already a done deal. It’s a bit premature.”
At this point the famous Franks’ temper showed itself.
“Are you tellimg me that I’m not following the Rules? Are…” Franks asked.
If you read a transcript of his comments at this point, the question seems appropriate, but the tone was something else.
Thorsen pointed out he had the floor at which time Franks stopped talking.
“The ad hoc committees are for special projects,” Thorsen continued.
“But I have a problem at this time [when you say] what should be a ‘goal’ to be achieve [is] an accomplishment.”
Kay Bates then asked if changes in the Rules had to be approved by the County Board.
Franks agreed that was the case.
= = = = =
A reader has noted that Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 have one member on the committee, while District 5 has two and District 6 three members.