Some thoughts from District 3 Republcan McHenry County Board candidate Mike Walkup:
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
In Illinois, politics is like an iceberg.
Ninety per cent of it is under the surface.
On November 5th, after voting for President, Congressman, and county board members, voters may also be asked the following question:
“Shall the County of McHenry adopt the county executive form of government and elect not to become a home rule unit?”
Does anyone have any idea what that means?
I ran it by a couple of local lawyers and they had no clue.
What it means is that, if passed by a majority of the voters, commencing in 2014, McHenry County voters will be voting to elect a County Executive who will replace the current County Board Chair.
If elected, the County Executive, who will serve a term of 4 years, will have the following powers:
- Appoint the heads of all county departments and members of all county commissions and special districts;
- Administer the county budget;
- Be able to veto any ordinances or resolutions of the County Board requiring a 3/5ths vote of the Board to override.
- Various other duties.
This may sound well and good on the surface.
After all, isn’t it better to elect the highest executive officer of the county directly rather than have it done indirectly by votes of the 24 elected County Board Members, as is the current practice?
The problem here is that any Chair of the Board, whether elected by the other County Board Members or directly by county wide popular vote, can have his or her duties modified by the Board as they see fit.
Therefore there is a check and balance if the Chair oversteps his/her authority or abuses his/her powers, ie. the Board can vote to strip the Chair of such authority at any time.
This is not the case with the County Executive, whose powers are set by state statute. No matter how tyrannical the County Executive gets, the Board can’t do much about it.
Once elected a County Executive will be hard to remove and abolishing the executive form of government would require an additional referendum which the average voter may not understand any more than they understand the referendum to set it up.
Although I favor the direct election at large of the County Chair, the County Executive will be taking things too far.
Be careful what you wish for. You may get it (and more).
P.S. I will be a Republican Party candidate for County Board, District 3 in November.
Those of you who want to point out that I used to be a Democrat, go ahead. I can use the additional votes.