As I was reflecting on the end run that newly-sworn in McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks is trying to pull on the taxpayers of McHenry County, it occurred to me that there may be a road block in the Illinois State Constitution.
As those who read the sketchy employment documents filed with the County Human Resources Department may have noticed, half of the “Communications Specialist’s” salary is to come from the McHenry County Department of Transportation.
I’m wondering if the new “Lock Box” amendment passed in November will prevent such a transfer for what certainly seems to be non-transportation purposes.
Read the language yourself:
Section 11. Transportation Funds
(a) No moneys, including bond proceeds, derived from taxes, fees, excises, or license taxes relating to registration, title, or operation or use of vehicles, or related to the use of highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, airports, or to fuels used for propelling vehicles, or derived from taxes, fees, excises, or license taxes relating to any other transportation infrastructure or transportation operation, shall be expended for purposes other than as provided in subsections (b) and (c).
(b) Transportation funds may be expended for the following: the costs of administering laws related to vehicles and transportation, including statutory refunds and adjustments provided in those laws; payment of highway obligations; costs for construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, and betterment of highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, airports, or other forms of transportation; and other statutory highway purposes. Transportation funds may also be expended for the State or local share of highway funds to match federal aid highway funds, and expenses of grade separation of highways and railroad crossings, including protection of at-grade highways and railroad crossings, and, with respect to local governments, other transportation purposes as authorized by law.
(c) The costs of administering laws related to vehicles and transportation shall be limited to direct program expenses related to the following: the enforcement of traffic, railroad, and motor carrier laws; the safety of highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, or airports; and the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, maintenance, operation, and administration of highways, under any related provisions of law or any purpose related or incident to, including grade separation of highways and railroad crossings. The limitations to the costs of administering laws related to vehicles and transportation under this subsection (c) shall also include direct program expenses related to workers’ compensation claims for death or injury of employees of the State’s transportation agency; the acquisition of land and the erection of buildings for highway purposes, including the acquisition of highway rights-of-way or for investigations to determine the reasonable anticipated future highway needs; and the making of surveys, plans, specifications, and estimates for the construction and maintenance of flight strips and highways. The expenses related to the construction and maintenance of flight strips and highways under this subsection (c) are for the purpose of providing access to military and naval reservations, defense-industries, defense-industry sites, and sources of raw materials, including the replacement of existing highways and highway connections shut off from general use at military and naval reservations, defense-industries, and defense-industry sites, or the purchase of rights-of-way.
(d) None of the revenues described in subsection (a) of this Section shall, by transfer, offset, or otherwise, be diverted to any purpose other than those described in subsections (b) and (c) of this Section.
(e) If the General Assembly appropriates funds for a mode of transportation not described in this Section, the General Assembly must provide for a dedicated source of funding.
(f) Federal funds may be spent for any purposes authorized by federal law.
State Rep. Jack Franks was a co-sponsor of this constitutional amendment, HJRCA 36.
I have asked in a Freedom of Information Request for “documents that will show what authorizes McHenry County to pay Oliver Serafini with money from the McHenry County Department of Transportation.”
When Joe Gottemoller was County Board Chairman, FOIA requests sometimes received a reply within a day or two.
Under Jack Franks, replies rarely, if ever, come in less than the maximum number of days allowed by state law. That’s a full work week.
Under Franks, extensions have been frequently requested as well.
So, don’t expect a quick answer’s being published on McHenry County Blog.