Franks’ Patronage Hires Fail HR Committee Test – Part 3

This is Part 3.  Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 is here.

Michael Rein

Michael Rein wondered if most jobs were not advertised on the internet and advertised.

“That’s correct,” County Administrator Peter Austin replied, [but] it varies for the electeds.

Rein asked if departments were “actively pursuing filling the two jobs now?”

“No,” Austin replied.

The Committee member wanted to know Austin was informed by Franks about his desired hires.

Peter Austin

“Before the first of the year” was the answer.

Austin told the members that he had been told that Franks had phoned “a number of the members” to tell them about the situation.

“Though this may have been legal, it was misleading, fraudulent in nature,” Rein concluded.

“Would you have done it differently?” Rein asked.

Austin referred to the cliche about 20-20 hind sight and repeated, “This isn’t the way we do things normally.”

He added, “This has been a real problem for me personally.”

I believe the next speaker was Chairman John Jung.

“I think we’ve talked about this enough and it’s getting too political,” he said.

There was a motion made to immediately proceed to a vote, but the motion failed to gain a two-thirds majority, which Jung said was required to end debate.

Craig Wilcox

Craig Wilcox drew State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally into the discussion and the State’s Attorney said, “We’re eager to serve when called upon.”

Then, Wilcox addressed Austin again.

“Could you see a rescinding of that employment?”

“I think that’s what’s before you,” Austin replied.

Jack Franks

“I don’t know how this gets further legitimizing,” he said, indicating the hiring was the same as the authority given other countywide elected officials.

Then came the stunning admission:

“I let the Chairman make the decision of who to hire.”

The legality of the hiring had been argued by the contention that the County Administrator has the authority to hire employees.

“I think we did not do our diligence.

“Hiring requires authorization from the County Board.

“There’s no way I can approve this resolution, Wilcox concluded.

Donna Kurtz

Donna Kurtz contended that the hiring process “should have allowed anyone interested to interview for the positions.”

She said she was getting “a dinging from the public.

“That doesn’t look right to the public.

“[State] statute does not say you can do that.

Mary McCann

Mary McCann then took the floor.

She saw two issues:

  1. the authority of the County Board Chairman
  2. the hiring issue

She pointed out that Austin had hired assistants before.

Supporting her, Austin pointed out, “The Board rarely approves hires.”

“I think it time for a realistic discussion of that [situation].” McCann added.

Wilcox saw three issues:

  1. the authority to hire
  2. the positions themselves
  3. the hiring process

John Jung

“Are you asking that these people be let go?” Chairman John Jung asked.

“I don’t like what happened,” he continued, “but Peter had been given the authority to approve up to the midpoint.

“It’s an elective office,” Jung pointed out knowing that the other countywide elected officials had the authority to hire the employees of their choice.

“You can hire Joe and not hire Mary,” Jung said.

Jack Franks patronage worker wearing Franks campaign stickers at the McHenry Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

“I see the other side.”

[The difference being that the office of at-large Chairman of the McHenry County Board was created by statute, while offices like the Sheriff, Treasurer, State’s Attorney, etc., were created by the 1970 State Constitution and, as such, had more authority vis-a-vis the County Board than Franks.]

“I don’t think believe it is clear Mr. Austin had the authority,” Kurtz said in rebuttal.

“When you have questions about what is proper, it is likely something was improper,” he concluded.

Seeing to frame the issue, McCann asked, “Is the Chairman Peter’s boss or are we all Peter’s boss?”

Bridgett Geenen’s McHenry County employee identification card.

She argued that not approving the resolution “doesn’t do much for the moral for many of the employees we have, department heads as well.

“‘Gee.  They’ll find an excuse to go after us for something they don’t like about us,'” McCann said, putting words into a county employee’s mouth.

Wilcox called for a request for a State’s Attorney’s opinion.

“Give me what you want to present to Patrick [Kenneally] and I’ll ask it,” Jung promised.

Austin said the issue was the re-classification of a position in mid-year without Board approval.

“In a nutshell, that is the issue..

“We did that, but there are parallels.”

Jung said the issue should be “come out of [the] Internal Services [Committee].”

“Just re-classifying doesn’t negate the packet posted,” Wilcox countered.

A vote was taken with Jung, Kopsell and McCann voting for the resolution which would legitimize, albeit belatedly, the hiring of Jack Franks’ two patronage employees.

Those three were outvoted by Kurtz, Rein, Wilcox and Wilbeck.


Franks’ Patronage Hires Fail HR Committee Test – Part 3 — 17 Comments

  1. Since the installment of the “round mound” we now have two instances have come to light where the County Admin has stated: ““This isn’t the way we do things normally.””

    The other one was the purchase of vehicle without Board approval.

    Why is this guy still on the job?

    When will the balance of our County Board start to work for the taxpayers?

    Does our County Board consist of members similar to the School Boards in this State?

    School Boards which cave to every little demand from the teachers and keep raising our taxes!!!

    Vote for Gessert and Handelsman!

    Voting starts Monday!!!


    Jack Franks wants McHenry County to reduce property tax levy by 10 percent
    County Board chairman looking to cut nearly $8M from property tax levy

    Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017 11:11 p.m. CDT

    Craig Wilcox, of District 4, said the board shouldn’t just look at cuts to the about $79 million the county gets from property taxes, but the entire $252 million budget.
    “It’s not just property taxes we have to look at,” he said.

    Odd that the NWH beat this blog on savings to property taxes, or is it just because of who is leading the charge?

  3. Jack is grandstanding, as usual.

    He talks a good game about wanting to cut taxes, but he wastes taxpayer money by hiring unnecessary patronage employees and a personal parliamentarian.

    Unlike the feds, McHenry County can’t just print money.

    If you want to really cut taxes, you have to cut spending.

    I won’t become a believer until Jack proposes real spending cuts and takes the political heat for them.

    Until he does, he’s just blowing smoke.

  4. Agreed, but he’s forcing the issue and blowing smoke directly in the face of the so called consecutive people that have run this county forever.

    Truly interesting times and ironic too.

  5. Jung,Kopsell and McCann Austin and JACK’O Don’t care about the voter.

    Austin has made many mistake’s

    FOIA Austin and Tirio e-mails prior to Tirio taken office

    Austin will probably cover that up



  6. Hello, my name is Jack Franks – I’m a third generation resident of McHenry County and I have been honored to represent many McHenry County communities as a State Representative.

    I am proud of the work I have done, in partnership with so many residents, speaking out against taxes and waste in state government.

    Now I am running for McHenry County Board Chairman to reduce property taxes, root out corruption, eliminate county government waste and fraud.

    Together we can build a stronger infrastructure and employment base in our county.

  7. ISN”T THE POINT HERE THAT – Franks gets into office on the premise of lowering taxes (we all knew he had no authority to do so, but nonetheless) then triples the cost of his office by hiring lackey’s that NO OTHER COUNTY BRD CHAIRMAN EVER NEEDED IN THE PAST?

    And the way he did it!

    This is a slam dunk, fire their asses to let Franks know he’s not going to play by his OWN RULES and continue with his patronage and nepotism hires at Tax Payers expense!

    I can see why he chose Weakling John Jung as chairman of the HR committee.

    That guy needs to be replaced. He never offers a thing to the meetings and clearly Franks got to him.

    Wonder what he promised Jung?

    Or maybe Jung is just like I said ‘a weakling’.

    Kopsell and McCann are closet Democrats and are of no use to the Taxpayers.

    Thank God for Kurtz, Rein, Wilcox and Wilbeck.

    Now when will the other “Republicans” stand up for what’s right and not be intimidated by this jerk who now runs the meetings?

  8. McHenry County Budget

    Fiscal Year 2016 (December 1, 2015 through November 30, 2016)

    Page 290 of 353 (FINAL budget)

    “Understanding the Costs of Personnel Services

    In April of 2007, the County Board of McHenry County, Illinois approved resolution R-200704-09-074 which authorized the Chairman of the Board to enter into a contractual agreement with RSM McGladrey (now Verisight) for the purpose of providing professional services for the implementation of a comprehensive job evaluation / classification system and corresponding compensation for participating, non-union employees.

    This system is still in place and is used in measuring the grade and wage of all new positions, RECLASSIFICATIONS, and promotions.

    The County Board has committed to reviewing the floor and ceiling of each grade classification and adjusting them as the job market dictates.



    The above does not appear in the DRAFT Fiscal year 2017 budget which appears on the County Board website.

    The FINAL Fiscal year 2017 budget is not on the County Board website.

    A FOIA request can be submitted for the FINAL Fiscal Year 2017 budget.


    The “Understanding the Costs of Personnel Services” section listed above was NOT included in the DRAFT FY 2016 county board budget.

    (But it was included in the FINAL version of the FY 2016 Budget.

    And the FINAL version of the FY 2017 Budget is NOT posted on the County website).


    FY 2015 Budget (December 1, 2014 through November 30, 2015)

    The above referenced section appears as “Job Classification System” instead of “Understanding the Costs of Personnel Services.”

    Reference pdf page 311 of 374 (numbered 307 in the document) of the FY 2015 Budget.

    FYI, in the Budget’s Table of Contents, the information is under the “General County Information” section under “Board Approved Positions.”

    FYI, Pdf page 309 of 374 (numbered 305 in the document) states, “Board Approved Full Time Equivalents (By Department).”


    FY 2014 Budget (December 1, 2013 through November 30, 2014)

    Again, the referenced section appears under the heading of “Job Classification System” instead of “Understanding the Costs of Personnel Services.”

    See page 255 of 295 of the FY 2014 Budget.


    So the job classification information appears in the FINAL version of the FY 2016, 2015, & 2014 Budgets.

    It is unknown if the job classification information appears in the FINAL version of the FY 2017 Budget, because that budget is not posted in the Budgets section of the County website).


    Also there is an item on the consent agenda of the Tuesday March 21, 2017 Regular County Board meeting, in which the HR Director is recommending consulting services be purchased from RSM McGladrey to re-evaluate the non-union job classification system.

    This item has been on previous county board agendas in 2017.

    Very interesting given the above fact that the job classification section does not appear on the FY 2017 County Board DRAFT budget listed in the Budget section of the county board website, and given the Oliver Serafini and Bridget Geenen hiring questions (they are non-union employees).

    The consent agenda means it is not an item to be discussed individually, and all items in the consent agenda are voted on at once (there is not a vote per item, rather one vote for all items).

  9. Imagine the impact we could have on property taxes if we paid as much attention to school budgets as we are currently paying to the County!

    2015 public school property tax ====== $523,717,423

    2015 County property tax ============= $ 76,289,016

    We need four Susan Handelsmans on every school board.

    We need at least one “Mark” for every school board.

    We need to sen Cal some money to fund expansion of his coverage.

    Cal should hire an ‘intern’ for a full time job updating his blog.

    Does MCC have a journalism course?

    But, then, I guess we have nothing to worry about because Springfield is going to freeze property taxes and send billions to school districts, counties, and municipalities.

    I wonder where Springfield gets its money from?

  10. Its Simple they came in thru the back door now they need to begone, job postings go back up as legit opportunities if they want the jobs come back and fill out the apps do the interviewing just like ALL!

    Or Go Home!

    stop wasting our tax $$ and quit trying to shove this under the rug to late its out there and now you need to Man up people and DO THE RIGHT THING!



  11. As a State Representative, Jack Franks worked with and observed Michael Madigan for 18 years.

    Part of what Jack Franks observed is the Michael Madigan method of controlling the legislative process including committees.

    How is Jack Franks applying such control methods to McHenry County committees & resolutions?

    Learn about Michael Madigan’s control over committees and passing legislation in the following Illinois Policy Institute report.


    Illinois Policy Institute

    Madigan’s Rules: How Illinois Gives its House Speaker Power to Manipulate and Control the Legislative Process

    By Joe Tabor & Ted Dabrowski

    Winter 2017

    16 pages

  12. Well, Well Mark, could it be what the residents of the South and West side of Chicago, call “White Priviledge”?

    Does he want to turn McHenry County into Cook County?

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