LITH Sanitary District Board Reverses Kane County Annexation…or Not

The elephant in the Lake in the Hills Village Board room, so to speak, was the law that determines who appoints members of the LITH Sanitary District.

I sponsored it in the early 1970’s.

When the new 1970 State Constitution went into effect, it said that Judges could no longer appoint members to boards of special districts.

So what to do?

With tax districts wholly within one county, the law gave the power of appointment to County Boards.

With tax districts crossing county lines, all I could figure out was giving state legislators the power of appointment.

Not ideal, perhaps, but the best I could come up with.

I don’t believe it has been amended since.

I watched its implementation from the inside during appointments to the Elgin Sanitary District Board, which crossed the Kane County line into Cook County.

Not living in the district, but representing Elgin west of McLean Boulevard, I joined with surrounding State Representatives and Senators and deferred to State Rep. John Friedland (R-Elgin).

Learning that the LITH Sanitary District had annexed in Kane County, I was surprised at McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks’ appointing and County Board members approving his appointments.

Both appointees were Democrats, as McHenry County Blog has revealed exclusively.

One was even a Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman.

The pay, set by state law, is $6,000 per year.  (Also here revealed exclusively.)

Pretty impressive patronage.

Knowing the law, I figured that Franks, an attorney, just didn’t do his homework.

Neither did McHenry County Board members.

How they could have had the authority to make appointments is beyond me.

After Franks figured out the problem, he doubled down.

He got a front page article in the Northwest Herald about how he was going to fix whatever problem existed, how what the Sanitary District had done was inappropriate.

Jack Franks sits right between the two Democrats he “appointed” to the LITH Sanitary District Board, Eric Hansen and Kyle Kane.

Today, there was a seventeen minute meeting at which Franks’ two appointees–Eric Hansen and Kyle Kane–

  • called the roll (only the two Franks appointees were present)
  • moved public comment to the end of the meeting
  • elected Hansen President and Kane Vice President
  • voted to rescind the ordinance that annexed property in Kane County
  • stopped buying property in Kane County
  • fired the District’s attorney Derek Price
  • accepted public comment

That took seventeen minutes.

All the time Franks was sitting between the two men he want to get $6,000 a year.

Before the meeting Franks was explaining what Hansen was supposed to do.

There were even helpful hints during the meeting.  (To Hansen re annexation nullification resolution: (“You  make the motion.”)

County Administrator Peter Austin was providing assistance as well, although not during the meeting.

All the votes, to no one’s surprise, were 2-0.

Jack Franks advises newly-“elected” Lake in the Hills Sanitary District Board President Eric Hansen.

The assertion was made that the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District “never existed in two counties.”

The boundaries of the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District clearly extend beyond the southern boundary of McHenry County into Kane County.

Kane said the two had “learned a lot over the last month.”

He claimed that “public money [was used] for political advocacy.”

Kane said it was “highly improper for governments to assist itself in [political] activity.

When Kane has finished, Franks talked quietly about the Public Comment period about to follow.

Derke Price

LITH Sanitary District Attorney Derke Price spoke.

He contended the meeting was illegal for three reasons:

  • The County Board did not [have the authority to] make the appointments
  • The County violated the Open Meetings Act because the word “resolution” did not appear in the published agenda
  • The two acting as Sanitary District Trustees were never sworn in at any public noticed meeting and did not have a bond

He said he would continued to represent the Sanitary District as an attorney “until directed by a court” to do otherwise.

He said the money in escrow to purchase land in Kane County would remain there.

Price mentioned a quo warranto suit (an action requiring the person to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising a power), presumably against County government challenging the Board’s right to fill Sanitary District vacancies.

“I’m not going to follow your direction,” Price said.

He countered the claims that Sanitary District funds had been used concerning a referendum by pointing out that no question was on the ballot.

Then, he asked County officials to explain the expenditures of County resources in the dispute.

A man from Crystal Lake then asked where the two were sworn in and, if sworn in, when that occurred.

There were no answers offered.

Attending the meeting were Mike Bissett, Chairman of the McHenry County Democratic Party and his wife, County Board member Paula Yensen.


LITH Sanitary District Board Reverses Kane County Annexation…or Not — 14 Comments

  1. Wow. Some crazy shit going on.

    Franks really does think he is County Czar.

    And the spineless, including Austin, keep letting this shit happen.

    Who is ready to move?

  2. Northwest Herald

    New Lake in the Hills Sanitary District Board Reversing Course on Kane County Annexation and Purchase

    by Kevin Craver

    July 4, 2017

    “It is against the law in Illinois for public entities to use taxpayer resources to take political positions.”


    Reminds one of Jack Franks’ patronage hire pictured with stickers and nail files sporting Jack Franks’ political logo while working the McHenry County booth at the McHenry Chamber of Commerce expo on Saturday February 25, 2017, as reported on the blog February 26, 2017.

    Is that not prohibited political activity?

    Following is a document about prohibited political activity.


    State of Illinois

    Executive Ethics Commission


    Prohibited Political Activity

    “The ‘State Officials and Employees Ethics Act’ provides a list of political activities State employees may not engage in when they are on State time.

    Generally speaking, this list includes any activity done in support of a political organization or a candidate for political office.”

    “See 5 ILCS 430/1-5 for a complete list of prohibited political activity or contact your agency’s Ethics Officer.”


    But what about local government?

    The following document is written for school districts but can be used as a guideline for other local units of governments such as counties.


    Illinois Council of School Attorneys

    Answers to FAQs Regarding Conflict of Interest and Incompatible Offices

    June 2014

    published by a Committee of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys

    6. Gift ban and prohibited political practices

    What does the Ethics Act prohibit?

    The State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 430/70-0.01 et seq. (Ethics Act), prohibits the acceptance of certain gifts by public officials and identifies prohibited political activities.

    The Ethics Act is a lengthy and complex law most of which does not apply to school board members.

    A school board should consult with its attorney for legal advice or a legal opinion concerning specific fact situations.

    The Ethics Act is designed for state employees and officials but requires local governments to adopt an ordinance or resolution no less restrictive than the Act’s provisions.”


  3. Anyone who supports the actions of the “round mound” has their head in a very dark place.

    The taxpayers will pay the same price in McHenry they are now paying for allowing Springfield to remain under the control of the Democrats.

    You have to be willing to be “Played” to support a guy like the “round mound”.

    How long before McHenry’s bond rating goes the way of Springfield?

    Not long if you allow the Democrat / “round mound” takeover to continue.

    The pigs are at the trough!

  4. The proposed dissolution of the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District and folding its operations into the Village of Lake in the Hills, is more like a hostile takeover by the Village of Lake in the Hills, aided and abetted by McHenry County.

    Proposed mergers, consolidations, dissolutions etc. should have all the data presented to taxpayers on a website in one location.

    That is not the case here.

    One has to search for information which is located in multiple locations.

  5. Where are the board agendas, board minutes, budgets, & annual treasurers report for the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District.

    I did not have a website?

  6. Yensen and Bissett….now there’s a brain trust.

    Yensen, who “retired” from the united way because her position was eliminated.

    Bissett, who hasn’t had a job in a decade other than creating defaming literature against most republicans.

  7. Jack Franks looks ill to me.
    Does anyone know if he’s ok medically?
    I’m worried about his health.

  8. I was wondering about that too, CLM.

    I think Jacko’s funky coloration is either from weird adjustments on the camera or too much spray tanning, but he has one of the biggest “ear bellies” that I’ve ever seen.

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