Remember hearing about how forest fires sometimes jump fire breaks that are intended to contain them.
That may have happened late last week with the Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water’s conflict of interest ordinance.
Originally presented to the McHenry County Board in December, the draft ordinance was shipped off to the State’s Attorney’s Office for review.
The review came back with some good points, along with some trivial ones.
And the number of county board candidates voluntarily filing the form kept increasing. Here’s who have filed so far:
- District 1 – None
- District 2 – All but Ken Koehler, that is, Sandra DePaul, Donna Kurtz, Ellen Brady Mueller and Lyn Orphal
- District 3 – Everyone of them! Veronica Armstrong, Nick Provenzano, Craig Steagall, Barbara Wheeler and Karen Tynis
- District 4 – Sandra Salgado and Jeff Thirtyacre (Democrat)
- District 5 – Tina Hill, John Jung and Frank Wedig (Green). Incumbent Jim Kennedy and challenger Dave Frederick have not yet filed the form.
- District 6 – All but incumbent Dan Ryan, that is, Richard Draper, Diane Evertsen, Mary McCann and Vic Narusis.
Since there is no deadline, candidates or public officials can still download the conflict of interest form, fill it out and send it in.
Indeed ALAW did not even ask candidates to fill out the ethics form; it did have a questionnaire on issued of interest, however, the results of which can be found here for the twelve county board candidates who completed it.
As you can see more candidates filled out the ethics statement than filled out the issue questionnaire.
Along the way, every candidate for sheriff has answered the conflict of interest questionnaire.
And, two incumbent county board members not up for election have completed it. One, Republican Virginia Peschke, the other, Democrat Paula Yensen.
Crystal Lake Councilwoman Carolyn Schofield
Late last week, however, the first municipal official sent in answers.
She is Crystal Lake City Councilwoman Carolyn Schofield.
What’s that all about?
She just got elected.
Does this portend an issue in the Crystal Lake city elections next spring?
Will Schofield introduce an ordinance to make completing the conflict of interest form a requirement for elected and appointed city officials, as well as city consultants?
Unlike the County of McHenry, the City of Crystal Lake is a Home Rule unit of government.
What’s that mean?
It means the Crystal Lake City Council and other Home Rule cities have more power than county government.
The standard explanation of what a Home Rule government can do is anything the General Assembly doesn’t say it can’t do.
If Schofield, the newest member of the city council, follows decides to make a variation of the ALAW ordinance mandatory in Crystal Lake, the debate could turn quite interesting.
Since city Councilwoman Ellen Brady Mueller is running for county board in District 2, she might get elected. She certainly is in the top three in the sign war.
If elected, I imagine she would resign from the council. If so, a replacement would have to be selected.
Might the council require applicants for the possible vacancy to answer the conflict of interest questions first?
Whether or not the city council passed such a requirement, any council member could let it be known that he or she would not support a candidate who did not fill out the form.
Yes, ALAW has started something that could get very, very interesting.