Winnebago County Board Chairman Loses in Federal Court Effort to Reverse Board Ordinances Limiting His Power

The Winnebago County Board, unlike the McHenry County Board, has taken steps to limit the power of its countywide-elected Chairman.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has the exact statutory powers as the Winnebago County Chairman.

Below is part of the March 18, 2020, Federal Court’s decision on the Winnebago County Chairman’s complaint. The request for an injunction to prevent enforcement of the ordinances was denied.

[Frank] Haney further claimed that his reform efforts have been thwarted by the Board’s passage of ordinances during his term that have curtailed the authority of and powers of the Chairman position. [1] ¶ 15. Specifically:

1. Ordinance 2017-CO-067 provides that the Chairman cannot terminate the County Administrator or Chief Financial Officer without Board approval. Prior to this ordinance, the Chairman possessed sole authority regarding the employment status of these positions.Id. ¶ 16. 

2. Ordinance 2017-CO-110 removed the requirement that the County Administrator must reside within the County; it also allows the County Administrator to appoint his or her designee to assist in supervising County departments, rather than the Chairman.Id. 

3. Ordinance 2018-CO-075 shifted numerous duties from Chairman to County Administrator, including appointing and dismissing department heads, union negotiations, and other financial duties.Id. 

4. Ordinance 2019-CO-005 strips the Chairman of his authority and power to supervise, direct, and control the County Administrator, instead placing such authority with the Board. Haney alleges that it also removed the Chairman’s ability to assign other duties to the County Administrator.Id. 

5. Finally, Ordinance 2019-CO-040 removes the Chairman’s executive authority to, among other things, fire the County Administrator, recommend a budget,participate in short-term planning, and negotiate any economic or other operational agreements.Id.


Winnebago County Board Chairman Loses in Federal Court Effort to Reverse Board Ordinances Limiting His Power — 6 Comments

  1. That’s bc incompetents like Joe Gottemoller and Wheeler-dealer allow it!

  2. Are the RINOs on the county board so lame they need others to show them what to do?

    With total losers like Jung and Althoff on the Board it’s no wonder why they are such sloths.

    Yet they run to the bank to cash their checks!

  3. Take this to heart County Officials:

    There is Federal Court case law that upholds the LIMITS on County Board Chairmans e.g. Chairman Franks!

    It’s up to you to ENFORCE those LIMITS.

  4. Kane, Wheeler is another gasbag.

    That whole board is bunch of Franks enablers and fakes.

    They must all meet at some high class joint like the Abbey, and yuck it up how they stage ‘fights’ for to snow the rubes and sell NW fakenews.

  5. Dust in the wind is right and anybody who acts all “woe is me there is no way to stand up to the chairman” is either complacent, cowardly, or illiterate.

    This is from the county board rules with emphases indicated by capital letters:


    4.1 Resolutions shall originate from the County Board Chair, the County Administrator, OR THE COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON and shall be brought before the proper committees for study and recommendation prior to being considered by the County Board.

    4.2 A committee member wishing to propose a resolution or other matter must do so first in discussion at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee. If the Committee Chair determines that a majority of the Committee wants to consider a proposed resolution, then the Chair shall cause to be placed a resolution addressing said matter on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Committee meeting.

    4.3 All resolutions must be submitted to County Administration five (5) business days prior to a Committee meeting so it can be included in the agenda in the amount of time required by the Illinois Open Meetings Act. All resolutions must be accompanied by an informational memorandum and any other supporting documents necessary for the consideration of the item.

    4.4 The County Administrator shall determine the appropriate Committee(s) to review a resolution or other matter. The reviewing Committee or County Board may, by a majority vote, refer the resolution or matter to another Committee for further review, study and/or recommendation.

    4.5 RESOLUTIONS APPROVED by a majority of the Committee members present at ANY required Committee SHALL ADVANCE to the full County Board meeting and SHALL BE LISTED under the “Consent Agenda” portion of the agenda.

    4.6 RESOLUTIONS FAILING to receive a favorable vote of the majority of Committee members present at ANY required Committee SHALL ADVANCE to the County Board meeting and be considered under the “New Business” section of the agenda.

    4.7 Resolutions, except for emergency appropriations, budget line item transfers, street vacations, and other matter required by law to be approved by a greater number of board members, shall be approved by a majority vote of members present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *