What the County Board Could Do to Thwart Jack Franks’ Patronage Hiring

A letter to the editor of the Northwest Herald from Woodstock’s Susan Handelsman, re-published with the permission of its author:

Let a judge decide McHenry County Board hiring dispute

Fact checking and logic refute sophistry by County Board Chairman recently printed in the newspaper which until August employed Chairman’s newly hired personal assistant as a reporter.

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

County Board Chairman has two jobs to perform:

  1. create agendas and
  2. conduct meetings.

He may also create ad-hoc committees as he sees fit, and must present a “State of the County” address.

Given that workload, there is no need for additional staff.

All prior Chairpersons managed simply utilizing existing administrative staff when or if needed.

By unilaterally dictating hiring of two of his campaign workers as personal assistants, in violation of County Code and salary administration policy, Chairman pressured all County Board Members to selectively enforce (in this case, NOT enforce) County Code at risk of personal liability.

Bridgett Geenen’s McHenry County employee identification card.

He put taxpayers at risk of litigation by any job applicant who was NOT subject to extraordinary considerations granted these two new employees (only a jury may say whether bigotry was not the actual reason why other applicants did not receive similar exemptions from County Code), and objections by any citizens who were subjects of ENFORCEMENT of County Code by those empowered and obligated to do so.

The 8 minority County Board members castigated in Chairman’s editorial have voting records on public record.

If the 8 weren’t a minority, our County would not be within the top 1/4 of 1% highest property tax rate Counties in America.

The 8 have fought Valley Hi excess tax accumulation (long before Chairman ran for office) as well as other questionable County spending.

Simple solution:

Let a Judge Decide.

Chairman filed a quo warrento (“by what authority?”) lawsuit against LITH water district.

Board could file quo warrento suit against Chairman asking for description of authority granting rights to execute these hirings in the manner they were performed.

Judge would decide at a bench trial, which should cost no more than the Chairman’s LITH suit.

This ruling would allow clarity for all future job applicants and potential litigants as to the level of personal political connection needed in order to obtain County jobs.

= = = = =
In the same Sunday Northwest Herald appears an editorial about Jack Franks’ secret Request for Qualifications for an agent to lease Valley Hi.

The editorial does not mention Franks’ name, which makes one wonder if the Franks has some connection to the paper.

Neither was there an article about the County Board meeting when Jack Franks’ RFQ was rescinded.

And, the meeting of the Internal Services Committee at which Jack Franks’ request to create official positions for the two patronage spots did not merit an article either.


What the County Board Could Do to Thwart Jack Franks’ Patronage Hiring — 12 Comments

  1. We, the voters, voted to NOT have a County Executive.

    We, the taxpayers, fund the salary package of a PROFESSIONAL / experienced Count Manager to Manage the affairs of the County not controlled by the States Attorney or the Sheriff or the Treasurer, or the Auditor or the County Clerk or the Circuit Court Clerk or the Recorder or the Coroner.

    We, the voters and taxpayers did not vote to have a County Chairman who will-nilly changes rules, makes up his own rules, holds illegal / improper meetings with County employees, gets unions to intimidate County Board members, attempts to get employees in Constitutional offices dismissed, intimidates the County Manager to the point where ‘weasel’ charges are made etc. etc.

    If the current County Manager cannot meet the requirements for his job – the County Board should dismiss him.

    And ABSOLUTELY, YES, Quo Warranto hearings relative to the County Chairman should be initiated.

    Put Board members and County employees under oath to testify as to the activities / behavior of the County Chairman.

  2. Susan, please get my email from Cal.

    Please, contact me through my email.

    I think you are intelligent enough to understand some things I can share with you.

    I have a direction for specific remedies you certainly would be interested in learning about.

    I think we could pick each other’s brains quite a bit.

  3. How about a judge from downstate or better yet Iowa!

    McH Co. has the crookedest judges money can buy.

  4. Cheap shot, Cal:

    Your Administrative Aid did political work on his own time voluntarily.

    Connect: I remember that there was an election wherein Jack beat Bogus Mike Walkup. The County Board cannot dismiss the County Board Chairman.

    And everything you listed, from a very biased point of view, is inside the scope of authority of any Chief Executive Officer under Illinois and Uniform Commercial Code law.

  5. The courts are loath to get involved in “political” controversies so don’t expect any help there.

    The remedy is for the County Board to cut off funding for the positions and not vote to authorize them which as was just voted on by the Internal Support committee.

    It will now go to HR and Finance and then to the full Board.

    Interestingly, County Administrator (not “county manager”) Peter Austin refused to state at that meeting if he would honor the will of the Board if the IS committee’s actions are confirmed by a majority of the entire Board.

    In that case, there could perhaps be some court recourse but more likely the court would consider
    that the Board could just fire the Administrator so it will still demur.

    The UCC has absolutely nothing to do with this situation, Charlie.

    The political work that Oliver did was at an Expo paid for out of public funds which was supposed to be to promote County Government, so it was illegal.

    We had a State’s Attorney that was indicted for something not that different from that.

    Hopefully this clarifies some of the inaccuracies stated above.

  6. Thank you for the clarifications.

    I will need a clarification of the statutory duties of the County Board Chairman.

    The Township Supervisor chairs the Township Board, but is also the Chief Executive Officer of the township government.

    I was under the impression that is is an analogous situation.

    Uniform Commercial Code defines corporate responsibilities.

    The McHenry County Board is a public corporation under law.

  7. Chairlie:

    The County Board Chairman, by state statute, has the following responsibilities:

    (1) Chairs meetings of the Full County Board;

    (2) May call for Special Meetings if elected at large;

    (3) May vote to break ties at Full Board meetings if elected at large;

    (4) May make certain statutory appointments such as PACE, RTA and CMAP boards;

    (5) Must sign all resolutions passed by the Board and other official documents;

    (5) May make appointments to fill vacancies with advise and consent of the Board.

    Other than that, the other responsibilities are those conferred by Board Rules.

    These include making appointments to various commissions and boards subject to advise and consent of the Board; setting agendas for meetings of the Full Board; liasons with other units of government; ceremonial functions.

    The direct election of the Chairman did not confer any additional powers or duties on the Chairman other than the ability to call for Special Meetings, which has not thus far been exercised by the Chairman.

    Thus is it different than the office of Township Supervisor.

    Inasmuch as no previous Chairman saw the need for additional staff, and inasmuch as the duties have no been expanded in any meaningful way, the need for additional staff remains highly questionable at best.

  8. Joe G. ran a full time law practice while serving as Chairman.

    He did not find the need to have a separate staff to assist him.

    Franks wants staffers so he can spend time running for other offices and generate favorable publicity for himself in furtherance of that effort.

    He has stated that he is considering a run right now for Attorney General.

    He has garnered favorable placement for several write ups in Chicago media and recently did a radio interview.

    None of that is necessary if he is only concerned about McHenry County.

    This has nothing to do with being Chairman of the McHenry County Board and everything to do with the political future of Jack D. Franks.

  9. Jack will attract another NW Herald “objective investigative reporter” or two to join his campaign after this.

    NW Herald is crumbling….where else will they get a job?

  10. If Franks ran as a Republican, he would have a better chance.

    His only hope as a Democrat would be at least four other credible candidates running against each other.

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