Questioning Jack Franks Patronage Hire End Run Around the County Board

Listened to a little of the end of the McHenry County Internal Services Committee recording and discovered a couple of the members are none too happy that McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has hired to patronage employees without County Board approval.

Donna Kurtz

Donna Kurtz of Crystal Lake started off.

She told of “a rumor circulating that a staff person was hired for the Chairman” and asked if it were true.

Administrator Peter Austin replied that “the Chairman has a need for an Executive Assistant” and that he had “talked to a number of Board members about the idea.”

He said there was a “need to go back to clean-up the job description” and find how “we can fund it.”

“I am hugely disappointed with you for allowing [the hiring] without going through committee.

“He [Jack Franks] didn’t talk to me,” Kurtz revealed.

She asserted that “there is a legal requirement” for hiring people and that the Franks hiring had not gone through it.

“As a professional manager I can’t understand that you have allowed this to happen,” she told Austin.

“Chairman Franks, he’s new and he’s gong to ask for everything.  It’s your job to say, ‘No.'”

Mike Walkup

Mike Walkup of Crystal Lake was up next.

He pointed out that Franks was being paid $82,000 a year and that nothing has changed the job.

“It’s the same job,” the man Franks pointed out.

“There is not call for any additional staffing.

“This is government by fiat.

“If we the Board doesn’t have a back bone right now, we can just hang it up.

“I don’t care what slush fund you took that from.

“We didn’t approve it.

“What does the new chairman do that all the chairmen in the past didn’t do?’

Yvonne Barnes

Committee head Yvonne Barnes then spoke.

“The position does not exist.

“Some have heard that there was another vacancy and the money was taken from that position” and used to pay for the Executive Assistant.

“How does one walk into HR [Human Resources] and get a job that wasn’t posted?” Barnes asked.

She observed that this action was a reason the Human Resources Committee should exist.

= = = = =
Read about the two employees Jack Franks and Peter Austin hired.


Comments

Questioning Jack Franks Patronage Hire End Run Around the County Board — 35 Comments

  1. I have a feeling “talked to a number of board members” will be the new excuse.

    The entire board needs to vote!

  2. Why doesn’t the county board have a jobs posting protocol which adheres to EEOC requirement?

  3. @Susan

    I’m sure that the county does, but Chairman Franks doesn’t need to follow procedures.

    He is, after all, THE CHAIRMAN.

    The Speaker of the House doesn’t follow procedure either.

    Jack learned from the best.

    If those two hires (lateral transfers actually since they already worked for Franks in one capacity or another) are allowed to stand without VIGOROUS opposition – to the point of legal action, if necessary – by the county board, then we must reward anyone on the board who doesn’t call for Jack’s head on a pike during the next election cycle.

    Those of us who don’t want McHenry County to slide any further into the slime that IS Illinois in general need to keep copies of all news articles, county board actions, etc. related to this issue handy so that we can roll them out when the time is right.

    Like that old 60’s saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!”

    There are two issues here, as I see it:

    1) Are these two positions necessary given the current staffing, responsibilities, etc. of the County Board Chairman? I have my opinion and you have yours.

    2) Regardless of whether they are necessary or merely political patronage jobs to reward Jack’s state employees, Susan’s point is well taken as is the questioning by Barnes, Walkup, Kurtz, et al. This was done by fiat and it’s wrong.

  4. There are enough lawyers on the board.

    If it’s illegal?

    Take it to court.

    Sue him!

  5. This is one reason why Jack Franks eliminated the Human Resources committee.

    Read board policy and state law then Contact Edgar County Watchdogs about the situation.

  6. “He said there was a ‘need to go back to clean-up the job description’ and find out ‘how we can fund it.'”

    – What is the job description as it stands now?

    – How is it funded now?

    – Jack Franks said he was going to implement zero based budgeting. How is this following zero based budgeting?

    All the board members didn’t even know what was transpiring.

  7. Did County Board chairmen of the past have executive assistants?

    NO

    If the board didn’t vote on it, he’d better UN-HIRE THEM!

    Peter Austin is a ‘yes man’.

    You work for the board, Austin, not Franks.

    Board members, maybe this means you don’t renew Austin’s contract.

    He clearly went above your heads and so did Franks and hired positions they had no authority to do, without a board vote!

  8. The info below was on the Human Resources Dept. website.

    Perhaps citizens and County Board members should contact the department as I just did, asking:

    Is there a written policy on posting open positions?

    Is there a policy on elected officials awarding jobs without posting openings?

    What is the statutory authority for these policies?

    The Human Resources Department is responsible for all activities related to developing, implementing and administering McHenry County’s employment policies, practices, procedures, employee benefits, new employee orientation, recruitment and payroll.

    The Human Resources Department strives to extend courteous customer service and provide accurate information to anyone they come in contact with.

    To Contact Human Resources:

    Phone: (815) 334-4220
    Fax: (815) 334-4648
    Email

  9. Re Walkup comment: “If we the Board doesn’t have a back bone right now, we can just hang it up.”

    I guess we can all “hang it up” based on the Board vote for $80,000 property tax increase.

    Exceptions: Barnes, Gasser, Thorsen, Wilcox.

    Let’s hope we can get at least 9 more Board members on board to ‘neuter’ the “little liar”.

    BTW is there attorney / client privilege between the Chairman and the States Attorney Office?

    If not, FOIA info relative to meetings between the States Attorney office and the Chairman.

  10. If Franks wants an assistant or two then he should damn well pay for it himself out of his own money not ours.

    Btw Mr. Franks where is this plan of yours to cut my taxes by 10%?

    Yea, didn’t think that would happen.

    So glad I didn’t vote for you but unfortunately I have to put up with you.

  11. Wow, such vigorous opposition from Cal Skinner.

    Where was he when Sheriff Bill Prim hired his friends as staff?

    If Franks said the sky was blue, you lot would find a way to argue against him.

    Let’s see if Cal obssess on this for a month now.

    Say it with me, “Diagraced, power hungry, former State Rep, Cal Skinner…”

  12. McHenry County Il
    higher than 3.66% mean and median property tax rate.

    American average property tax rate 1.4%

    This is tantamount to paying a mortgage interest rate of 6.26% when buying a home in this county, compared to paying a 4% mortgage rate nearly anywhere else in America.

    And high property tax rates breed higher property tax rates, as home values deteriorate with only rental property investors as qualified interested buyers, driving the denominator ever lower.

    The numerator, tax levy, only rises and rises and rises, as we see with the Henry County Board passing a levy $3 mil higher than last year.

  13. Edgar County Watchdogs is the go to source for these types of matters not internal people at the property taxing district.

  14. 13 votes can undo this abomination.

    At the very least we need two conservative Board members to try to bring it to a vote so me can count heads and see which ones to cut off in the next primary season.

    Time for a roll call vote!

  15. Not sure how effective simply asking questions will be.

    If that doesn’t work, or maybe even instead of asking questions, submit a FOIA request for documents.

  16. Jack has two very important weapons at his disposal which he is using to great effect against the McHenry County Board and the citizens they are responsible to protect.

    Initiative is powerful as a weapon and since Jack knows his next moves because his master has whispered them to him and the Board doesn’t.

    And Experience politically under the protection and tutelage of Dictator Madigan.

    Jack is three moves ahead of the board at the least.

    If only because he’s working a well thought out plan he’s going to remain ahead.

    Because of the lack of experience and leadership within this board the only hope is to strip Jack of all powers save for ceremonial until such time a leader capable of an intelligent opposition emerges.

    Jack will win a pyrrhic victory inasmuch as he will collect a fantastic salary to do nothing but this is our only hope right now.

    This will damage the members reputations but it will stop the damage to the citizenry.

    Then we may press forward a positive agenda to kill the sour taste of our County Board being such failures.

    Understand Jack continues to be in no lose situations.

    If the board focuses on rolling back these patronage hires they will take their eye off any future moves Jack makes.

    If the board blames Petey and fires him Jack will move on increasing his position’s power to include that of doing what the County Administrator does to “save the county money”.

    Anyone not buying what he’s selling will be eviscerated publicly for their obstructionism.

    County Board, it is clear you are not leaders, not capable and unwilling to engage Jack to curb his insatiable desires. You are failures.

    Give up.

    Strip his powers, take the heat and then continue to half ass your job as you have been.

  17. Not to sound melodramatic, and my apologies for the comparison, but one has to wonder if this county is not rapidly approaching its own Night of the Long Knives.

  18. Priest lays out the path forward for the Board.

    Now if only they can unite and follow his advice.

    ‘Sitting on pins and needles Wizard holds his breath’

  19. Either hiring a public employee without first posting the job opening is against policy or it isn’t.

    It should be a simple matter to obtain a Human Resources Policy statement, but no joy yet.

    I have emailed, I have called, was given to a voicemail and left a message.

    Is there a written policy on posting open positions?

    Is there a policy on elected officials awarding jobs without posting openings?

    What is the statutory authority for these policies?

    The Human Resources Department is responsible for all activities related to developing, implementing and administering McHenry County’s employment policies, practices, procedures, employee benefits, new employee orientation, recruitment and payroll.

    The Human Resources Department strives to extend courteous customer service and provide accurate information to anyone they come in contact with.

    To Contact Human Resources:

    Phone: (815) 334-4220
    Fax: (815) 334-4648
    Email

  20. Just contact Edgar County Watchdogs and talk about the situation.

    They will probably say read the policy and FOIA documents; but they can probably lend some additional insight; they deal with “is the government body following they law” issues a lot, all over the state.

    Asking the County questions may not produce the best results, unless you personally know the people; who knows where their allegiances lay.

    They may not want to rock the Jack Franks boat…who knows.

  21. Why does Jack Franks need full time staff if he himself is not full time.

  22. The board needs to revolt or the people are going to revolt on them.

    This situation is THAT serious.

    Dump the AuStin progressive enabler now.

    Twelve years of shennanigans is enough.

    Franks just provoked his own WWIII in this county.

    The people are sick to death of being railroaded.

  23. still no joy so i FOIAd the County protocol on posting open positions and hiring interview practices from the dept of Human Services.

  24. And here is foia reply:

    McHenry County does not have written rules for hiring practices as they relate to publicly posting job openings and conducting applicant interviews.

    McHenry County’s protocol is when an appointed department head is ready to fill a vacant budgeted position they notify Human Resources and Human Resources posts the position on our website and various other websites.

    Human Resources then collects the applications electronically and forwards those applications to the departments.

    The departments review the applications, interview candidates, and offer a position.

    Human Resources then conducts background checks and schedules physicals if needed.

    The department notifies Human Resources who they are going to hire and when.

    We do encourage Elected Officials to follow the same process as the appointed department heads but they are not required to do so.

    Since McHenry County does not have written rules for hiring practices, is unaware of any statutory authority, and does not have a County Resolution regarding hiring practices this response is a partial denial of your request.

    You have a right to have the denial of your request reviewed by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. 5 ILCS 140/9.5(a).

    You can file your Request for Review with the PAC by writing to:

    Public Access Counselor Sarah Pratt
    Office of the Attorney General
    500 South 2nd Street, Springfield, Illinois 62706
    Phone: 1-877-299-3642 Fax: 217-782-1396
    E-mail: [email protected]

    You also have the right to seek judicial review of your denial by filing a lawsuit in the State circuit court. 5 ILCS 140/11. If you choose to file a Request for Review with the PAC, you must do so within 60 calendar days of the date of this denial letter. 5 ILCS 140/9.5(a). Please note that you must include a copy of your original FOIA request and this denial letter when filing a Request for Review with the PAC.

    Holly Eddy | Human Resource Analyst
    McHenry County | 2200 N Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098
    Phone: (815) 334-4219 | Fax: (815) 334-4648

    Looks like easy remedy, if County Board Member so desired: pass a resolution to create a protocol.
    That would at least protect taxpayers from discrimination lawsuits.

  25. Time to Call in ALL the channels 5, 7, 9 on your side let this be a public issue of how once again Gov has screwed the people!

    Wake up Mr. Attorney General your gonna get real busy…

  26. The auditor in me is shuddering after having read the following from the HR Dept:

    “McHenry County does not have written rules for hiring practices, is unaware of any statutory authority, and does not have a County Resolution regarding hiring practices…”

    I can’t even believe there are absolutely no policies/procedures or internal controls for the recruiting/hiring/management of the County workforce.

    That’s a stunning admission.

    It leads one to wonder what other internal control/management oversight failures exist in critical functional areas elsewhere in the county.

  27. I remember the sheriff’s dept was under a consent decree for many years.

    Also remember 3 female officers being hired by MCSP and given instant seniority due to the fact that department refused to hire female deputies.

    Cost the county a lot of money.

    Was nothing learned?

  28. Simply fixed:

    Any County board member could move to resolve to create a hiring protocol, right?

    Seems like 25 people like maintaining political latitude to hire friends and family

  29. Is this a Ted Nugent song or a HR Department.

    It’s a free for all.

    +++++++++++++++

    The Board has not in the past approved all hiring decisions?

    +++++++++++++++

    Has an analyst responded to to McHenry County FOIA requests in the past?

    Typically, a FOIA response comes from management.

    Surprised the response did not come from the HR Director.

  30. Actually have seen FOIA responses from non managerial employees.

    In any event these patronage hires were definitely not done in a transparent fashion, so once again, Jack Franks says one thing and does another.

  31. Northwest Herald

    McHenry County Board Set to Reconstitute Human Resources Committee

    – Member Raises Question About Two New Administrative Hires

    January 12, 2017

    by Kevin Craver

    “Franks told the County Board that Geenen’s roles will include constituent outreach, preparing the board agendas and other functions, and that Serafini, while working predominantly for the Division of Transportation, also would do communications work and outreach for other departments.”

    Both, Franks said, would be available to do constituent and communication work for individual County Board members upon request.”

    http://www.nwherald.com/2017/01/12/mchenry-county-board-set-to-reconstitute-human-resources-committee/a2z4sfo/?page=1

    +++++++++++

    Bridget Geenen, Executive Assistant, and Oliver Serafini, Communication Specialist, are not assigned 100% to Board Chair Jack Franks.

    So why was Jack Franks allowed to make 100% of the decision.

    What dos it mean that Oliver Serafini will work predominantly for the Division of Transportation?

    That he will not work predominantly for Jack Franks?

    Yet Jack Franks was allowed to make the hiring decision?

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