Victor Franks Distributes $12,000 a Year Spoils to Fellow Democrats

“Follow the money.”

That’s the advice Woodward and Bernstein adopted during the Watergate Scandal.

I figured that might still be good advice with regard the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District scuffle.

There are three trustees who govern the Sanitary District.

One, Dave McPhee, son of a former LITH Village President just got appointed to the Village Board.

So his seat is (was) vacant.

The term of a second, Shelby Key, husband of another former Village President, has expired.

Following what has been done previously, the McHenry County Board Chairman, now Democrat Jack Franks, appointed to replacements:

  • Kyle Kane
  • Eric Hansen

Kane, according to the McHenry County Clerk‘s Office, is a Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman in Grafton Township’s Precinct 19.

He also is featured on the Democratic Party web site in an article asking people to volunteer to become Precinct Committeemen.

Kyle Kane Precinct Committeeman recruitment article.

The voting record of a second appointee, Eric Hansen, shows participation in last year’s Democratic Party Primary Election.

Eric Hansen most recently voted in the Democratic Party Primary Election.

So, where’s the money?

State law sets this sanitary district’s compensation for Trustees at $6,000 a year.

That’s enough to pay the tax bills of both appointees.

It should be noted that the Republican-controlled County Board approved Franks’ appointments.


Victor Franks Distributes $12,000 a Year Spoils to Fellow Democrats — 37 Comments

  1. The term “Republican-controlled County Board” is similar to the term “CNN News”.

    Neither one is an accurate portrayal.

    The McHenry County Board has become a rubber stamp for the “round mound”.

    What happened to Barnes? Kearns? Where they threatened also?

    Where is Gasser’s replacement?

    Why does the “round mound” still have two ‘lackeys’ working for him?

  2. $6000 per year is outrageous!

    School Board members are true volunteers, work endless hours and are paid nothing.

  3. If Jack was truly interested in good government and lower taxes he would have eliminated the compensation for these types of positions when he was in Springfield.

    Just another example of political corruption in Illinois.

    Whatever happened to the volunteer spirit in Illinois?

  4. Re: “Whatever happened to the volunteer spirit in Illinois?”

    It was interred when governments took over charity work.

    Even school boards are no longer controlled by true volunteers – they are controlled by people living off public sector pensions because retired private sector pension holders apparently have no desire to run for the office.

  5. Pretty comical: A blog post about a $6,000 Democratic donation is introduced with a hyperbolic parable about Watergate.

    Why not start a post about Joe Tirio’s fundraiser with a follow the money shtick?

    Or, why not “follow the money” concerning the $1.2 MILLION Dollar grant to Harvard?

    Surely there have to be kickbacks when we are talking about $1.2 MILLION dollars?! /s

  6. Follow the $$$$ just got better or worst after Trump modifications to the Johnson Amendment?

  7. LITH and LITH Sanitary Dist don’t have the same legal boundaries.

    Problem Houston.

    Perhaps elected instead of appointees like many of the Fire Dist?

  8. Maybe one of our Republican legislators will sponsor a bill to eliminate paid appointments at all levels of government…..

    no, that won’t happen….

    how about any sanitary district appointments for a starter.

    If you can’t afford to serve, don’t accept the appointment.

  9. The tab for the County Board, 24 and Chair, for dinky McHenry County has to be close to $1M per year.

    So what’s $12 K for 2 more votes, right Jack?

    While we’re at it. What idiot decided each district in Mac County needed 4 reps?

    My Texas State Rep’s District is practically the size of Mac County and she gets $7200 plus lunch money in session,

  10. I’m with DJ. Cut the size of the board this year. Partisans like Cal are not for cutting the size of the board, however.

    Cal obfuscates and says that, “The board will raise their pay.” I ask ANY board member on the board today, “Will you raise your pay if we cut the size of the county government?” That is electoral suicide in this climate.

    Cal is also against cutting the size of the board because this increases the potential for a Democratic majority on the board.

    Finally, Cal is against cutting the size of the board because it objectively decreases his overall access and power on the board. Many of the misfits he supports would be crushed by other, more senior members of the board who are adept at fundraising and have a great name ID.

  11. Sunshine blogger, please delete the previous comment! It hurts my sensibility to read so many truths about such an honorable and committed journalist like you. Make the sunshine blog pure again! 2018, is that you? Tic, tock, tic, tock…

  12. There used to be three county board districts with six representatives per district.

  13. The size of the board has been rendered moot since it is populated by nitwits.

  14. Thanks for the history lesson, Cal. You know what would be nicer?

    Lake County has 1 county board member per 34,000 citizens.
    If McHenry County followed suit, we would have 8.9 county board members.
    Round up to 9 members, that means we could cut 15 county board members.

    Forget Cut 10. Let’s Cut 15.

  15. Re: ““Will you raise your pay if we cut the size of the county government?” That is electoral suicide in this climate. ”

    Do you also believe that hiring two totally unnecessary lackeys is “electoral suicide”?

  16. Do you think it’s coincidental that the line item for the Chairman’s staff disappeared all of a sudden after a Democrat won office? Do you think that a county wide elected official should have staff when every other countywide office holder has staff?

    I’ll say it again, Cal Skinner does not want to cut the size of the board. He does, however, want to oppose a successful Chairman if it is a Democrat at the helm.

    The taxpayers cannot afford Cal Skinner. They can, however, afford cutting 15 members from the board. We, as taxpayers, should ask to cut AT LEAST ten members from the board.

    Is anyone on this blog, other than questions, actually opposed to eliminating and saving taxpayers money?

  17. I was thinking single member districts, 20,000 per board member, rounding up to 16. no benefits or milage, $30K pay.

  18. Pasted below is comment Mark made in response to similar unsubstantiated claims by Moderate:

    Mark on 03/09/2017 at 12:51 pm said:
    Moderate’s claim from an above comment:

    “Also, please note, the Chairman had a budget to hire staff prior to the board defunding the office due to Franks being elected.”

    Agitator alleged others confirmed this.

    Others asked where was this documented, and Agitator provided no documentation, just a vague, you said this a few weeks ago comment.

    No one other than Moderate has stated the Chairman had a budget to hire staff prior to the board defunding the office due to Franks being elected.

    Would Oliver Serafini (the Communications Expert patronage hire by Jack Franks) have issued a press release and sent it to Northwest Herald if the county board had defunded the County Board Chair office?

    How did Oliver Serafini and Bridget Geenen get hired by Jack Franks since Moderate claims the board defunded the office?

    The documentation trail of how those two were hired is a very interesting topic.


    Ersel Schuster reported expenditures by the last 3 County Board Chairs in this post:

    McHenry County Blog

    Bill of Particulars re Jack Franks

    March 7, 2017

    The following costs incurred by the last 3 chairmen, extracted from the County Board Budget, were:

    2016 – $2,320.36 – Joe Gottemoller

    2015 – $253 – Joe Gottemoller

    2014 – $2,744.54 – Tina Hill

    2013 – $4,818.77 – Tina Hill

    2012 – $4,584.82 – Ken Koehler

    2011 – $3,867.85 – Ken Koehler


    The previous County Board Chairs did not have a dedicated communications specialist, executive assistant, or outside counsel Parliamentarian.

    The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s office is and has been used by the County Board for Parliamentarian services.

    Jack Franks decided the County State’s Attorney’s office was not good enough for him, so without permission from the County Board, he hired an outside the county law firm for Parliamentarian services.

    Apparently no law firm in McHenry County is good enough for Jack Franks for Parliamentarian services.

    The law firm hired by Jack Franks for Parliamentarian services contributed $1,000 to the political campaign of Jack Franks shortly before Jack Franks was elected to office as McHenry County Board Chair.

    The name of the law firm is Storino, Ramello & Durkin, which is located in Rosemont (Cook County).

    The Supporters of Jack D Franks political action committee (PAC) reported this contribution on November 7, 2016.

    On November 8, 2016, Jack Franks was elected County Board Chair.

    On December 5, 2016, Jack Franks was took the Oath of Office as County Board Chair (his first day on the job).

    On January 17, 2017, Jack Franks introduced Nick Peppers of Storino, Ramello & Durkin to the County Board during the regular County Board meeting.

    This was a surprise to the County Board.

    Jack Franks did not involve the County Board in the decision making process.

    Jack Franks didn’t even notify the County Board of his intentions.

    Employees of the County State’s Attorney’s office were at that January 17, 2017 County Board meeting to provide parliamentarian services to the County Board.

    Those County State’s Attorneys, paid by taxpayers, were unaware that Jack Franks had hired outside counsel to provide parliamentarian services to the County Board Chair, until Jack Franks introduced Nick Peppers as the Parliamentarian for the County Board Chair.

    So now the County Board Chair has outside counsel for parliamentarian services.

    And the County Board has the County State’s Attorney’s office for parliamentarian services.

    Previously, the County Board Chair had used the County State’s Attorney’s office for parliamentarian services.

    The Parliamentarian interprets board rules and provides advice.

  19. In the last year, Cal Skinner has not ONCE advocated to cut the size of the board.

    Franks sounds like more of a Republican than tax and spend Skinner.

  20. Again, Moderate not stating specific details to support a non-objective opinion.

    There is a body of evidence to support the polar opposite viewpoint:

    The body of work Cal’s blog represents, when local newspapers refused to report these issues, has saved taxpayers on many occasions:

    TIFs (CL, Lakewood for two examples)

    Power plant incursion Oakwood Hills

    Alleged patronage hires by several public officeholders

    Alleged misuse of public funds by public officials

    Public school spending details which resulted in a property tax rate above 4% of home values

    I haven’t found a single instance of public spending advocacy by Cal which supports Moderate’s allegation of Cal being in favor of ‘tax and spend’.

  21. What are you even on about Susan? No wonder you lost your race, you sound Vulcan.

    There is no evidence to submit because Cal hasn’t written a single post about cutting the board size. He wants a bloated county government.

    In fact, Cal posted the exact opposite when he shared Kelly Liebmann’s hysterical letter to the editor about why we shouldn’t cut the size of the board!

  22. Moderate you are factually inaccurate in your misrepresentations of Cal’s position.

    As you know, Cal has defended the size of the County Board only because it is easier to corrupt and/or intimidate fewer members.

    And concentration of power in a few hands whose past performance put Illinois and McHenry County where we are today is thought to be a higher risk to citizens than status quo.

    If we would concentrate time and effort to find specific systemic solutions, rather than tangential unsubstantiated personal smears, or supporting/criticizing one candidate or another, we could make positive progress for taxpayers.

    Specific ideas to give Illinois residents hope of survival:

    1. Cap Property tax RATE at 2.5% or lower.

    2. Include accrued, unpaid interest debt in public disclosures AND most importantly, in the calculation of public debt per taxing body in relation to statutory debt maximums (as percentage of EAV).

    3. Eliminate TIF as we know it.

  23. I’m factually correct in saying Cal has not written a single post about cutting the size of the board.

    It’s factually correct that you would save hundreds of thousands a year in cutting the size of the board.

    I’m factually correct in saying that neither of those statements are smears.

    The are factual.

    And, factually speaking, those are systemic changes.

    Factually, you are correct too.

    So, why not do both?

  24. In conjunction with: enforceable, meaningful penalties for bad actions by elected officials. (Systemically enforceable, not subject to political vagaries).

  25. Current County Board Chair Jack Franks’ proposed an advisory referendum in June 2014 (he was State Representative at the time) to increase the number of county board districts from 6 to 16, while simultaneously reducing the number of county board members from 24 to 16.

    The result would be a conversion from:

    – 6 county board districts, 4 members each to

    – 16 county board districts, 1 member each.

    That was reported in the same June 6, 2014 Northwest Herald article by Kevin Craver in which Jack Franks promised he would not run for County Board Chair in 2016.


    Has someone taken a look at McHenry County voting records and concluded the Democrats would be more likely to pick up more seats with 16 districts v 4 districts?

    Who would draw the new district maps?

    What would be the process to draw new district maps?

    Who would would be the deciding vote in the event of a tie, to approve the maps?

    In what election would the maps become effective?


    Remember, Michael Madigan was first elected House Speaker in 1983 as the result of drawing legislative maps following the 1980 census.

    Those maps resulted in Democrats gaining more seats in the State House in the 1982 election, so the Democrats said thank you and elected Madigan House Speaker in January 1983.

    That is discussed in the 57 minute Michael Madigan movie on YouTube titled, “Madigan: Power. Privilege. Politics.”

  26. Mark, that may all be true.

    But look how poorly this County has fared under the current system.

    There are some good actors: Wheeler, Wilcox. Gasser, Rein.

    Their efforts are negated by others.

    Under this County Board structure we’ve had Anna Miller put in a position to extract and funnel over $100 million taxpayer funds to a district in which her husband was road commissioner; for a project which many taxpayers protested as of dubious value at best.

    We’ve had a County board chair represent a power plant which had been secretly negotiating with Oakwood Hills Pres. in violation of OMA.

    We’ve had a whole board (with notable exceptions named above) enable Valley Hi Fund an improper $42 million excess accumulation.

    Now we have a board chair facilitating improper patronage hires in violation of county code and salary administration policy.

    Also pressing county funds be spent on an interstate interchange very close to another low traffic interchange.

    (One thing Marengo has is water.

    I suspect the end game for land use out that way will involve high water use industrial, and/or power plant).

    My point is, we are being burned down by current management, and so are in no position to worry about our inevitable drowning by buckets of water thrown at us by future management.

  27. Power and potential consequences should considered regardless of party.


    A good taxpayer victory would be implementing the following two transparency measures at each local property taxing district in the county, starting with the largest property taxing districts:

    1. Implement board agenda packets that are:

    – One pdf contains all documents to be discussed at the meeting.

    – Searchable (“find” feature in Adobe can be used to search for keywords in each document in the packet).

    – Posted on the district website at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

    – Allows copy from each document, and paste to another document outside the packet to consolidate information.

    – Allows the public to more quickly and easily review the documents to be discussed at the meeting.

    – The various stakeholders (public, all board members, the administration, unions, etc.) each have all the documents to be discussed at the meeting in one location.


    2. Implement videotaped board meetings that are posted and indefinitely archived on the district website.


    3. Collective bargaining transparency reform.

    This would best be handled at the state level.

    However, some of this may currently be permissible at the local level.

    The playing field is currently stacked to the advantage of the unions, at the disadvantage of taxpayers.


    Rank and file union members are able to vote on whether or not to ratify the agreement.

    Rank and file taxpayers are not able to vote on whether or not to ratify the agreement.


    B. The tentative agreement should be posted at least 48 hours prior to the board voting whether or not to ratify the agreement.

    That agreement should:

    – Identify every change in the agreement, for example, underline text for additions, and strikethrough text for deletions (sometimes referred to as a redline agreement).

    – Allow the ability to search for keywords (searchable)

    – Allow the ability to copy from the agreement and paste to another document, to consolidate information.



    After taxpayer, board, and union approval, two renditions of the agreement should be indefinitely posted on the property taxing website:

    – Redline agreement identifying the changes.

    – The agreement without redlining.


    D. During the negotiation period, the union negotiating team provides updates to the rank and file union members.

    The board should also be providing updates to the rank and file taxpayer.


    E. The expiration date for each collective bargaining agreement should be tracked on the district website, in addition to being contained in the collective bargaining agreement itself.

    This is to promote greater taxpayer awareness of when the agreements expire.


    F. Upon entering negotiations with the union, the district should issue a press release that negotiations have begun.

    This is to promote greater taxpayer awareness that negotiations have started.

  28. Mark,
    If you want to make that many changes, why not just run for office and do it yourself?

    Getting back to what we were talking about….

    We need to cut the size of the board! Period!

  29. Thank you Mark for taking the time to post specific, evidence-based data on this blog.

  30. I know Franks is for cutting the size of the board and that’s what we were discussing before you derailed the conversation per usual.

  31. That is factually inaccurate.

    Mark posts factual information which help readers make informed judgements.

    Your posts tend to be unsubstantiated, opinionated assertions.

    Your posts often give the impression of attempts to derail substantive conversations; while Mark’s, in my experience, never do so.

    My comments were that current management, including Franks, are not serving County taxpayers well.

    If Franks wants to cut size of Board (how do you know this by the way?) he might start streamlining Board overhead by firing his two patronage hires who were taken on in violation of County Code and Salary Administration Policy.

    (Source citations for the patronage hiring impropriety are posted several times throughout this blog. If you choose to disagree with the propriety and legality of the patronage hires please cite sources).

    Once this appropriate action for the good of McHenry County taxpayers has been undertaken and Chair credibility somewhat restored, voters may trust suggestions for downsizing as in the spirit of the good of the community rather than in the self-service of the Chair’s personal best interests.

  32. Does anyone here find it disturbing that private voting info and personal info are being listed via a “voter database”?

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