McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks made significant progress in convincing Board members to lower the number of committees from twelve to seven.
Can’t imagine why readers might be intereste, but here’s an attempt to list the proposal:
- Internal Support and Facilities Services (the new Management Services and Facilities Management)
- Law and Government (Law and Justice, plus Legislative)
- Liquor and License
- Planning, Environment and Development (Natural & Environment Resources plus Pollution Control Facilities folded in)
- Public Health and Community Services
Rather extensive discussion occurred concerning the Pollution Control Facility Committee, which Franks saw no need for.
Joe Gottemoller explained that it met exhaustively if there was an application for a pollution control facility, e.g., a garbage dump.
Franks was educated by former Chairman Gottemoller, who pointed out that it could not be an ad hoc committee, because the losing side of any siting vote would go to court saying the committee had been stacked against their position.
The consensus was to put the function in with Planning.
Another issue tentatively settled is when the Board will meet.
Franks wanted a voting Board meeting on the third Thursday of each month preceded the Tuesday before by a Committee of the Whole in which no votes would be taken but at which questionsciykd be brought up and discussion had on any agenda issue by any board member the Tuesday before.
The idea would be to develope a consent agenda that could be passed with one roll call at the regular Board meeting.
Contensiouis items would thus be identified.
The Tuesday-Thursday schedule posed a problem for Michele Aavang, who attends Illinois Farm Bureau meetings on Wednesday, Thursaday and Friday during the third week of each month, driving to Bloomington each Tuesday night after the County Board meeting.
Andrew Gasser suggested keeping the Board meeting on the third Tuesday and holing a Committee of the Whole meeting the previous Thursday.
Agreement was reached on this schedule.
Replacement of members on committees was an interesting debate.
When I first read the proposal, it smelled like a really bad procedure in Springfield.
There party leaders (read Mike Madigan and the GOP Leader) could pretty much substitute at will any member off of a committee and replace them with someone.
So if a member wanted to duck a tough vote and was willing to be replaced with a more compliant member, a switch could be made.
Discussion indicated that several committees had had problems conducting meetings because enough members had not shown up to create a quorum.
Franks said he had noticed that in reading committee minutes.
“I’m not sure this would come up very often,” he said, “[but we] need to be able to do the people’s business if someone’s not there.”
Franks said the request from the member to be replaced would have to be in writing (that occurs in Springfield as well on a little slip of paper) for each meeting.
He told of his Springfield experience when a chairman “could stack a meeting.”
“I just want to have the flexibility.
“I’ve seen it work in other governments and it has been used inappropriately,” he continued.
Jim Keanrs wanted to know if the replacement would have to be from the same district.
Franks said he could agree with that.
Jim Heisler related having sat in a committee room for 30 to 45 minutes waiting for enough members to create a quorum.
“It happened twice,” he said.
“I don’t want any chicanery happening,” Franks said indicating something would have to be in writing to the committee chairman.
Chuck Wheeler pointed out that now meetings were going to be held in the County Board room, attendance by phone was an option.
Paula Yensen told of the problem of people leaving a committee meeting early.
“Perhaps they would allow us to know ahead of time and we can arrange for a replacement,” Franks replied.
At this point, Franks admitted that putting a bunch [of committee meetings] on one day was a bad idea.
Apparently he received a lot of negative feedback.
Keying in on Yensen’s comment, Mike Skala said, “I don’t view an individual missing a meeting when you have a quorum [as significant].”
He pointed out he had conducted Finance Committee meetings with four members [without a problem].
“This is not a mandate,” Franks emphasized.
“It will only be energized at the option of the member.”
Bob Novak told of the impossibility of sitting through meetings while he was being treated for prostrate cancer.
“I would have been happen to call Andy,” he said.
Kearns wanted more control by the member who was absent.
“What if a person says, ‘Yes,” but I don’t want [him/her]?’
“Pick your own substitute,” Franks replied.
“We can make that change.”
Wheeler summed up what he thought the consensus was:
- 1st option – replacement would be a member of the same district
- 2nd option – the members’ choice
All present approved the change.
“I appreciate the input. That was helpful,” Franks concluded.
When asked when the proposed Rule changes might be posted on the County web site, Franks replied,
“We’ll get the changes and get them to the County Board and [then] to the public [which will have plenty of time to review them].”