Ersel Schuster Sees McHenry County “Swamp Dwellers”

From former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster, now running for the office in District 6:

Board Rules & Voters be Dammed According to Our Local Swamp Dwellers

Many are frustrated with the “swamp” in DC and Springfield; yet overlook our local political swamp.

Over the last 2 weeks, what appears to be the culmination of the last 10 months, our McHenry County Board has given us a vivid example of why voters walk away from their civic duties feeling their votes do not count…so why bother.

Fortunately, there are those who are seething and fed up with what they see happening right here, in our own backyards.

More are realizing they must step-up to do a better job of knowing who they vote for in future elections.

It will take a little but you can get a good dose of reality by listening to the audio of the following meetings at

  • McHenry County Board Special meeting of 9/14/17;
  • Internal Support Facility (ISFC) Committee meeting 9/27/17;
  • Human Resources Committee (HRC) meeting (10/4/17; and lastly,
  • the 10/5/17 Finance Committee (FAC) meeting.

If you can withstand the ineptness of what you are listening to, you can clearly understand why the public is not feeling warm, fuzzy, or confident toward elected officials.

In fact, screaming indigestion would be more descriptive!

Setting the stage for this discussion, we need to go back to the embarrassing 9/14/17 County Board Special meeting.

The utter confusion was something to witness.

The chairman, at 1:20 +/- in the audio, called the vote stating: “I’ve got that Donna… you will be voting on the amendment to send the resolution back to 3 committees. Please vote your switches.”

The original resolution title stated:

“Resolution Authorizing the Elimination of Positions #18001116 (Temp Project Manager) and #82003699 (Utility Coordinator) from the County Board Approved Departmental Roster..”

Minutes into the voting process, member Mike Skala called for clarification of the vote.

Bottom line, while the stated vote was underway, the text of the amendment was changed to include and earlier (not acted on) amendment from member Joe Gottemoller.

This additional amendment was to replace the word “eliminate” with the word “create.”

This was clear example of how these meetings are being mismanaged.

Amendment upon amendment without settling one issue at a time… causing total confusion.

In the end, the vote flipped the original resolution on its head to accomplish the exact opposite results.

It was an “after-the-fact” approval of the chairman’s 2 political-hires.

Had Chairman Jack Franks and the members realized it, there was no longer a need to waste anyone’s time by sending the issue back through the 3 committees.

It was a forgone conclusion the positions would be approved and the additional tax dollars to fund the positions would be found whether taxpayers liked it or not.

Approval of the 2 positions was 17 – 6.

No one will ever know who had already voted on the original call for the vote or who voted after the text of the amendment was changed.


  • Barnes,
  • Wilcox,
  • Wheeler,
  • Rein,
  • Walkup, and
  • Thorsen…

were the only 6 members with spine enough to withstand the threats, bullying and power-driven agendas of the chair.

Simply put, had the Internal Services and Faculties Committee not been stymied at every turn over the last 10 months, they could have addressed the contradiction between the referenda intent (electing the chairman at large), board rules and the chairman’s desires.

Had members read and understood their own rules, they would have concluded guidelines were already in place for this topic.

Had they wanted to change those rules, it should have been done before taking action in direct contradiction to the existing rules.

One of the most overlooked and necessary questions eluding these board members is:

What is this chairman doing that requires additional staff?

Several issues are already swirling around actions of the chairman.

During the Internal Services Committee meeting it was stated, in open session, that the chair has been holding private meetings with employees where supervisors and county board members are excluded.

Additionally, certain board members are being attacked and maligned in these meetings.

Anyone with half a brain, and absent an agenda, would have to ask: For what purpose are these meetings occurring?

We do know they were not county board directed meetings.

Could it have anything to do with pay-back for the hundreds of thousands in union donations to a certain campaign coffer?

Only about one-half of county employees are unionized.

Sounds like fertile ground for organizing.

It would do voters good to take a long-hard look at the 17 voting to avoid challenging inappropriate actions by the chairman and staff.

Ersel Schuster seems to be echoing the message that District 6 County Board candidate Orville Brettman is delivering.

It is lamentable that too much of the County Board has fallen into the McHenry County swamp.


Ersel Schuster Sees McHenry County “Swamp Dwellers” — 15 Comments

  1. What is your age and how many times have you ran for county board Mrs. Schuster?

  2. I believe that Ersel Schuster is running in District 6, not District 5.

  3. The Board has some kind of electric/electronic gizmo that records votes.

    Why not have a large projection screen with projector hooked up to a computer with MS Word.

    The secretary at Board Meetings would type in to MS Word each resolution that will be voted upon for all Board Members to see.

    If any amendments, these would also be typed in for all to see and then to vote upon.

  4. @bred – Ersel is 78 and your display idea is as inefficient as it is terrible.

  5. I would guess that fair play is not familiar with MS Word and Powerpoint and never gave presentations to a group of people using a computer (laptop) with a projector and projection screen.

  6. Bred – name one government body that uses your proposed process (un)improvement

  7. Actually, let me rephrase that, name one company who’s boardroom or share holder meetings have a section where they open Microsoft word on a projector and write or revise a document together.

  8. Running for political office is VERY different from applying for a job.

  9. At the very least, the Clerk or someone else should read the exact resolution that they are voting on before every vote.

    This is especially important when there have been amendments.

    I’ve heard Board Members comment that they weren’t sure what they were voting on, and I’ve felt the same way listening to the audio.

    I’m not entirely convinced that the confusion is unintentional.

  10. YouTube

    Cal Skinner channel

    McHenry County Committee of the Whole county board SPECIAL meeting

    (the special meeting followed the regular meeting)

    September 14, 2017


    From the blog post:

    “Setting the stage for this discussion, we need to go back to the embarrassing 9/14/17 County Board Special Meeting.

    The utter confusion was something to witness.

    The chairman, at 1:20 +/- in the audio, called the vote stating: ‘I’ve got that Donna… you will be voting on the amendment to send the resolution back to 3 committees.

    Please vote your switches.'”


    That portion of the meeting begins at 1:19:00 of the YouTube video listed above.


    To understand the perspectives of the various county board members and chair, listen to the entire meeting.


    Who is the gentleman sitting to the right of Peter Austin in the video?

    Outside counsel parliamentarian?


    For transparency and understanding, there should be a way for the public attending the meeting or listening to the live audio, to easily know who voted how.

    The current electronic voting procedure, with minutes approved at a meeting weeks after the vote, does not easily allow for the public attending the meeting or listening to the live audio that ability.

    Someone attending the meeting would need to snap a photo of the electronic vote screen, or quickly write the names of everyone and how they voted, or have a pre-made grid for each vote and put check marks next to yea or nay, or something of the sort.

    This is not good transparency.

  11. Make no mistake: Ersel is part of that swamp; she’s just too self absorbed to admit it.

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