Jack Franks Temporary Rules Committee

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.

Jack Franks defends Temporary Rules Committee.

Jack Franks defends Temporary Rules Committee.

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.


Jack Franks Temporary Rules Committee — 14 Comments

  1. Interesting that the ‘lap dogs’ from D-6 did not include McCann.

    Why do Kearns, Smith and Aavang run as Republicans?

    Even better: Why do Republican voters vote for people such as Kearns, Aavang and Smith?

    Oh, I forgot, “let the voters decide”.

    Good job Jeff!

  2. Questioning,

    McCann was the other person nominated for Vice Chair against Thorsen.

    She got her reward for being a lap dog, but lost to Thorsen in the vote.

  3. The Temporary Rules Committee is too important just to have Jack Franks appoint 9 members.

    Is Jack Franks the 10th member of the Temporary Rules Committee?

    This is bad board policy.

  4. Correction, Jack Franks appointed two board members from District 5, and three Board Members from District 6.

    From all other Districts he appointed one Board Member.

    District 6 represents western McHenry County.

    Jack Franks is from Marengo which is in southwestern McHenry County.

  5. Another correction, Mike Walkup did carry Grafton Township Precinct 4 in County Board District 6 and Grafton Township Precinct 6 in County Board District 5.

  6. And Mike Walkup carried Grafton Township Precinct 21 in County Board District 5.

  7. Temporary Rules Committee Members:

    Jim Heisler – District 2 (Crystal Lake, Algonquin Township Precinct 19)

    Joe Gottemoller – District 3 (Crystal Lake, Nunda Township Precinct 15)

    Chuck Wheeler – District 4 (McHenry, McHenry Township Precinct 21)

    Paula Yensen – District 5 (Lake in the Hills, Grafton Township Precinct 12)

    Mike Skala – District 5 (Huntley, Grafton Township Precinct 1)

    Michele Aavang – District 6 (Woodstock, Greenwood Township Precinct 1)

    Larry Smith – District 6 (Alden Township Precinct 1)

    Jim Kearns – District 6 (Coral Township Precinct 3)

    Robert Nowak – District 1 (Grafton Township, Precinct 17)

  8. Larry Smith – Harvard

    Jim Kearns – Huntley

    Robert Nowak – Algonquin

  9. Timeline

    November 8, 2016 – Jack Franks elected McHenry County Board Chair.


    December 5, 2016 – Jack Franks takes Oath of Office as McHenry County Board Chair at the Regular County Board Meeting.

    Following URL is to the 1:23:39 audio and includes links to the Agenda Packet and Minutes Packet.


    56:00 – Each County Board District chose 1 of their 4 members represent the District on the Committee on Committees.

    District 1 – Yvonne Barnes

    District 2 – James Heisler

    District 3 – Joe Gottemoller

    District 4 – Chuck Wheeler

    District 5 – John Jung

    District 6 – Mary McCann

    Not stated in the meeting, but pointed out by Ersel Schuster in a November 28, 2016 post on the blog, is that the County Board Chair is a voting member of the Committee on Committees and Chairs the committee meetings.


    57:00 – Jack Franks created an Ad Hoc Committee and named it the Temporary Rules Committee.

    Prior to the meeting Jack Franks only notified some board members about his intention to create the committee.

    Here are the McHenry County Board Rules about Ad Hoc Committee:

    “The Chairman of the County Board shall have the power to establish ad hoc committees for special projects.

    The Chairman of the County Board shall have the power to establish ad hoc committees for special projects.

    Such committees will exist for the life of the project.”

    In creating the Temporary Rules Committee there was no attempt by Jack Franks to:

    – Have a discussion with the board in front of the public about the merits of creating a Temporary Rules Committee.

    – Allow board members in each District to nominate who they would like on the committee, which was the approach taken to select the Committee on Committee members.

    – Allow the board to vote whether or not to accept each of his nominations to the committee.

    To update the list of 9 Temporary Rules Committee Members listed in the previous comment to include the 10th member:

    Jack Franks – District 6 (Marengo, Coral Township Precinct 1).

  10. McHenry County Meeting Portal

    December 7, 2016 at 11AM

    Temporary Services Committee – public meeting

    County Board Conference Room, Administration Building, 667 Ware Rd, Woodstock

    – Agenda

    – Agenda Packet

    – Audio



    The Temporary Services Committee is an ad hoc committee.

    Jack Franks is using ad hoc committees in frequency and ways not used by previous county board chairs.


    The “Agenda” and the “Agenda Packet” for this meeting were identical.

    In other words, there was no Agenda Packet, only an Agenda.


    In the audio of the meeting, Jack Franks states he emailed documents to the Committee Members.

    In the name of transparency and accountability to the taxpayers, Jack Franks could have posted those emailed documents as an Agenda Packet so the public could also review the items.


    In another lack of transparency, no minutes have been posted for this important meeting.

    The minutes would contain a written summary record of what transpired at this 2 hour 17 minute meeting.


    The audio for the meeting is 2:17:44.


    The minimum notification of 48 hours was given to hold the meeting.

    Meeting notification is accomplished by posting the agenda.

    The agenda on the website is date and time stamped December 5, 2016 at 10:54AM.

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