As I take a look at the moves and counter moves involved in the fight over who has the right to appoint the $6,000 a year Lake in the Hills Sanitary District Trustees, I’m taken back to my favorite course in grad school–organization theory.
Organizations are like organisms.
They want to keep living.
After State Rep. Jack Franks got legislation enacted in 2016 allowing the consolidation of districts whose trustees are selected by county government, the LITH Sanitary District accelerated the purchase of land in Kane County.
Franks wants Lake in the Hills to take over the Sanitary District, even though about 400 homes it serves are located in Crystal Lake and another 400 in Huntley.
Why the Kane County move?
District officials had already been negotiating with Plote for property in a farm that straddles the McHenry-Kane County line.
That fell through, but the district decided to annex south of the county line down the right-of-way of Red Barn Road.
That happened in April.
Was that in order to cut the McHenry County Board out of the appointment process?
I can’t speak to the intent, but the result was to bring into play a second part of a law I sponsored in 1973.
The 1970 State Constitution had recently passed and I noticed that it said that judges could no longer appoint members of local governmental boards.
For those districts wholly within a county, I figured county boards were the logical entities to make the appointments.
That gave McHenry County Board members the authority to appoint the LITH Sanitary District Trustees.
For districts crossing county lines, e.g., the Elgin Sanitary District, I settled on a committee of state legislators representing parts of the governmental entities.
Not ideal, but all I could think of.
In the case of the LITH Sanitary District, those legislators are now
- State Senator Karen McConnauhay
- State Senator Dan McConchie
- State Rep. Allen Skillicorn
- State Rep. David McSweeney
McHenry County Board Chairman Franks has made it abundantly clear that he consider the trustee positions patronage to be passed out to deserving members of his Democratic Party.
Both men named have voted in a Democratic Party Primary Election and one has been appointed a Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman.
The two people he wants to replace had not active party affiliation. Both were relatives of former Lake in the Hills Village Presidents.