The issue that drew the most discussion at the McHenry County Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting was Chairman Jack Frank’s suggestion to allow for the substitution of members on committees.
When first surfaced this idea on December 5th, Franks said, “I’ve seen it work in other governments and it has been used inappropriately.”
A recent article in City Journal about House Speaker Mike Madigan’s rise and exercise of power had the following:
“He also revised house rules to let him unilaterally change committee members, so he could substitute those sympathetic to him on a given issue for those less well-disposed.”
(There is a bit of irony in the quote from Jack Franks in the article: “He knows more about the workings of the General Assembly than anyone, on any issue, at any time.”)
Franks said substitution is needed “to be able to do the people’s business.”
During the CoW meeting he seemed to be willing to accept any change suggested just to be able to get the camel’s nose under the tent.
What none of the 23 Republicans pointed out was that in Springfield, the Democratic Party House Speaker is not allowed to replace Republicans.
That’s done by the GOP House Leader.
Often the replacements are just as devious as Madigan’s.
If Franks wants to go the replacement route, then Republicans should ask that Vice Chairman Jeff Thorsen, be the one in chanrge of replacing Republicans.
Concerns were expressed by
- Andrew Gasser – “I know it’s something they do in Springfield, but it’s not something they do in D.C. I’m truly concerned about this.
- John Jung – “I pretty much agree with Andy, maybe for the first time.”
- Michael Rein – agrees as well.
- Jeff Thorsen – “This is a way a member can avoid a bad vote.”
- John Reintert – “It works out that the decision for change would be made by the Chairman…I trust you, Jack, but when you’re gone…”
- Donna Kurtz – “We’re fixing a problem that doesn’t exist. It puts the Chairman in the center of this whole situation. It makes me very uncomfortable.”
- Craig Wilcox – “How can this be misused? Ask someone two years removed [by the election cycle] to vote the same. This rule isn’t required at all.”
- Mary McCann – “I see no hame in someone’s having a substitute.”
- Joe Gottemoller – “My biggest concern is this substitution policy [is taking so much time when we] have 47 items to go.”
- Jim Kearns – “One could request that they not be replaced, but that’s not in [the Rules].”
- Paula Yensen – “I concur with Mr. Gottemoller. My husband had major heart surgery. I feel this needs to be discussed more tomorrow or maybe in Management Services [the name of the committee that considered Rule changes in the past] to flush this out more.”
- Franks – “If you’re not ready to do this, we could send it over there. I think it’s necessary. You folks apparently don’t.”