Shortly after McHenry County Auditor Pam Palmer annpunced her retirement, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks appeared in a Northwest Herald article announcing that he wanted to abolish the office.
In the same article former Crystal Lake Grade School Board member and then-County Board candidate Nancy Gonsiorek was featured as Frank’s likely choice to replace Palmer.
Gonsiorek announced that she was withdrawing from the GOP Primary race in District 3, thus giving Lori Parrish a clear shot at being on the fall ballot.
Then, I am assuming, Franks started calling Republican County Board members seeking support for his choice.
Concurently, Chief Deputy Auditor Shannon Teresi seeking County Board support.
Teresi managed to obtain solid Board support…enough to defeat a nomination of Gonsiorek or anyone else should Franks proceed with what appears to have been his original plan to consolidate power.
Sta†e law says that County Auditor replacement appointments are to be made within sixty days.
Since using any data Palmer’s resignation became effective in early January, Franks is way overdue on fulfilling his statutory duty.
Franks had two choices.
He could have left the office empty until a new Auditor would be elected in November and sworn in the first week of December.
Or he could have appointed Teresi.
He figured out that Teresi would be nominated by the GOP Central Committee to be its candidate this fall.
She was distributing campaign material at events during the recent primary campaign and courting Republican Precinct Committeemen over the phone.
Franks bowed to the inevitable and nominated Tereis.
But, he didn’t want to appear to be capitulating to Republican Party wishes.
So, he seeks to take accounting duties away fom the Auditor’s Office and put them under his control.
Perhaps he will hire Gonsiorek for that function.
There is one important element that Board member Larry Smith brought up in the Finance Committee meeting that considered Franks’ proposal.
Will the Auditor retain the current authority to reject vouchers that are suspect.
Or will Franks get that power?
Think of the implication with regard to Mary McClellan’s purchase of Christmas gift coats for her employees in the County Clark’s Office.
Pam Palmer turned down McClellan’s request.
Under current procedure, McClellan could have appealed that decision to the Finance Committee, but, so far, has not done so.
Palmer also rejected requests for reimbursement for candy distributed by elected officials at parades.
County Board members need to examine the ordinance that Franks will present very carefully to make certain that if elected or appointed officials seek to purchase questionable items with tax dollars that the Auditor can stop their payment.
Our Founding Fathers set up a government of checks and balances.
That principle is no less needed now than it was then.