Karen McConnaughay Named Republican Senate Caucus Whip

A communication from State Senator Karen McConnaughay:

Do you want to learn more about the Senate budget framework?

I’m happy to report the Senate finished the 99th General Assembly strong, as a new chapter with the 100th General Assembly of Illinois begins. In recent weeks, I have seen hard work on both sides of the aisle, which has kept me optimistic about this upcoming year.

The Senate made significant steps forward, announcing a framework for a budget package with reforms, which was filed this past week. I continue to work with my colleagues from both parties as negotiations on this proposed budget continue. Hearings will be held on the package throughout this month and Senate leaders have indicated their intent is to move forward with a resolution as quickly as possible.

The newly proposed budget package addresses many issues, including workers’ compensation reform, pension reform, term limits and, notably, it is the first time we’ve seen a fiscal plan where revenues, the budget and reforms are all included as one package, and are all linked together–if one component of the proposal doesn’t pass, no piece passes. I am hopeful with these ongoing discussions and negotiations that a middle-ground can be found.

Karen McConnaughay

We saw the Senate further embrace that spirit of compromise when the body came together to unanimously pass a resolution imposing term limits on the positions of Senate President and Minority Leader.

I believe this action demonstrated a willingness from all members to set party affiliation aside and agree on issues where there is common ground, making it a strong start in the Senate to the 100th General Assembly.

I look forward to building on this positive momentum, and working with lawmakers from both caucuses in my new role as the Republican Caucus Whip.

It will be an honor to serve on the Senate Republican leadership team over the next two years.

Needless to say, the recent break in the budget logjam, coupled  with several other important issues we tackled this first time back to the Senate floor in 2017, has made for a busy week! To stay in the loop, I encourage you to sign up for my email newsletter to receive updates.

Of course, if you have any comments or concerns, please contact me at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Karen McConnaughay
State Senator<
33rd District

McConnaughay looks forward to change with 100th General Assembly

The 33rd District State Senator underwent the inaugural process to be sworn-in to office of the 100th General Assembly on January 11th. Senator McConnaughay remains positive about the challenges and obstacles Illinois faces.

“Though the state continues to face difficult times, and many tough decisions must be made in the coming months, I am pleased by what I’ve seen in the recent weeks and days,” said McConnaughay.

“No matter the differences many of us face on a day-to-day basis, today we can all pause and take a moment to acknowledge the humbling privilege of serving in this body. The 100th General Assembly is a fresh start and I look forward to working with my colleagues to address our challenges, in order to make Illinois a state the citizens truly deserve.”

What do you think are the most critical issues facing Illinois? Your feedback is important to our government body. Please help Senator McConnaughay by filling out her short survey!

McConnaughay applauds Senate rule change imposing term limits 

The poster used in the kick-off press conference for Cal Skinner’s run for Governor as a Libertarian in 2002.

As a co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 3, Senator McConnaughay applauded the amendment to the Senate Rules that implemented limits of five terms of office for the positions of Senate President and the Minority Leader.

“I whole-heartedly believe this is a clear sign from the Illinois Senate that there is a commitment to facilitate change in how we do business,” said McConnaughay.

“While the Senate adopting term limits for the Senate President and Minority Leader is just a small step forward, I believe it demonstrates much-needed momentum as lawmakers gear up to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing this state.”

January 11th marked National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

January is the month of awareness for Human Trafficking, and earlier this week the day of January 11th is recognized as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Senator McConnaughay has been active in the fight against human trafficking and says bringing this form of modern day slavery into the spotlight is critical.

McConnaughay legislation assists crime victims through investment in trauma recovery centers

A proposal to aid victims of violent crime by focusing on trauma recovery efforts, now heads to the Governor. Senator McConnaughay sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 2872, which she said is just another step forward in the changes being made to Illinois’ criminal justice system. Read more

Keep track of nasty weather on Illinois roads

Nasty weather is in the forecast this weekend, but Illinois has a handy map of winter road conditions. Stay on top of the roads at Getting Around Illinois.

Senator spotlights top-selling realtor Diane Anderson

This week, Senator McConnaughay spotlights Diane Anderson, a successful realtor at Baird & Warner and owner of DIMARK INC, which is a construction company that builds and flips rental properties.

“Even aside from the incredible philanthropy Diane shows on a regular basis, her perseverance and talents are inspiring,” said Senator McConnaughay. “She’s at the top of her field, and she is dedicated to make Batavia a better place for those who need it most—and not even breast cancer could deter her. That’s character that should be celebrated.”

CL Public Works Employee Seriously Injured in Crash

A press release from the Crystal Lake Police Department:

Traffic Crash Investigated on Miller Road at Golf Course Road

At approximately 8:46 am [Friday] Crystal Lake Police and Fire/Rescue personnel responded to the area of Miller Road, just east of Golf Course Road for a report of a two-vehicle crash involving injuries.

The initial investigation revealed a Mitsubishi SUV, while heading eastbound on Miller Road, struck a City of Crystal Lake Public Works employee who was completing roadway repairs.

As a result, the male Public Works employee was pinned in between the Mitsubishi and a construction trailer.

The man was flown from the scene to an area hospital suffering from severe injuries.

The female driver of the Mitsubishi was transported by ambulance with non life threatening injuries to an area hospital.

McHenry County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and are conducting an investigation. At this time there are no road closures due to this incident.

12 Years for Sex Criminal

A press release from McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally:

MARIO MORALES SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS IN THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FOR THE OFFENSES OF CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT AND AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Mario Morales, 39, formerly of Harvard, Illinois was sentenced to nine years in the IIlinois Department of Corrections for the offenses of Criminal Sexual Assault and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.

The defendant was found guilty of committing acts of sexual penetration and sexual conduct against a family member after a bench trial before the Hon. Judge M. Feeterer.

This case was investigated by the Harvard Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Kate Lenhard.

Just a Conicidence

In Kevin Craver’s article in the Northwest Herald Saturday, he reports that McHenry County Board Chairman is backing off on his announced plan to put proposals for three non-binding advisory referendums on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting.

Allen Skillicorn

Gone will be the one asking whether County voters want to keep the Recorder of Deeds as an elective office.

As is obvious by the election of Joe Tirio on a platform to save future salaries, benefits and pensions of that elected official, the voters have given a pretty good indication that they agree.

All that remains is putting a binding referendum on the ballot as was done in Cook County last November.

Gone also is the referendum asking if voters want to cut the size of the County Board in half and have future districts be composed of only one member.

Jack Franks

Remaining will be the one mimicking the ones put on the ballot in Lakewood by Paul Serwatka and in Cary and Fox River Grove by Andrew Gasser.

And, just coincidentally, of State Rep. Allen Skillicorn’s referendum proposal that was kicked of the ballot in McHenry County upon the petition challenge of Chief Deputy Clerk Linda Fitzgerald, represented by attorney and County Board member Joe Gottemoller.

The municipal referendums passed overwhelmingly.

So will any similar countywide referendum.

As I suggested to the County Board when they put on their November advisory referendums,

“Why not ask the voters something you don’t already know the answer to?”

Steve Reick Now State Representative

The following was posted on State Rep. Steve Reick’s web site:

Prior to entering the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois-Springfield for inauguration on Wednesday, Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) gave a radio interview during which he outlined his hopes and goals for the 100th General Assembly. You can listen to that interview here.

Zachary Fardon on Justice Department Report on Chicago Police

A press from U.S. Attorney’s Office:

REMARKS BY ZACHARY T. FARDON, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY AT TODAY’S NEWS CONFERENCE ON INVESTIGATION OF CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT

Thank you, Vanita. I am grateful to you, Attorney General Lynch, and to all of the outstanding women and men from the Civil Rights Division and my Office who have spent the last 13 months working so hard to make today happen.

Today, history is made, and it couldn’t come at a more important time. The past year has been among the most brutal in Chicago memory. Gun violence has overwhelmed us. We have been thunderstruck with grief and heartbreak, fear and confusion, uncertainty and sadness. Today’s findings, coupled with the City and Chicago Police Department’s commitment to work with us toward sustained change, are an historic turning point, a major step forward.

Zachary Fardon

This is hard. I’m in law enforcement and have spent much of my career working with CPD. They are a noble institution with thousands of wonderful and brave public servants. The bad officers are fewer; the good officers are many.

But the institution as a whole has some challenges, and those challenges are getting in the way of being as good as we can be at fighting crime. I have seen that first hand.

The first step is taking an honest look at what’s wrong. And to be clear, that doesn’t mean pointing fingers or casting blame; that’s not what this is about. It’s about what an incredibly challenging job it is to be a police officer, and making sure that our police officers have what they need to do the job right.

As Vanita and the Attorney General both mentioned, the City and CPD have not stood still while we conducted this review. I want to thank and commend the City, Mayor Emanuel, Superintendent Johnson, and the many others at CPD and the City who have worked hard and thoughtfully over this past year or more. They have led, and are leading a number of new reforms and efforts to address some of these deficiencies.

In our report, we address each of those new measures — in some cases simply with applause, because we agree with them; in other cases, by pointing out how or where we find the measures to be insufficient or inadequate. Those critiques, while important, do not detract from the reality that the City and CPD have leaned forward and are pushing for change. And with the City and CPD’s agreement today, we now have a framework – an anticipated Consent Decree that will include an Independent Monitor – for not only making sure change happens, but making sure it sticks.

Let me emphasize that point. The deficiencies we found are longstanding, some decades old. Prior reform efforts in Chicago’s history — and there have been many — have not gotten the job done. And over the years, these festering problems have impacted and to a degree even come to define CPD’s culture.

CPD officers need and deserve what the citizens of Chicago want and deserve: a culture of excellence; a culture of integrity; a culture of altruism; a culture of pride in public service. Today is a big step toward manifesting that culture. And I again thank the Superintendent and the Mayor, as well as their leadership teams, for being part of that.

There has been, over the past couple years, a lot of pain and polarization about policing. There are those who are very skeptical about police and want a complete overhaul. And there are those who think that police, particularly in a violence-ridden city, don’t need any reform and should be unfettered by scrutiny.

Neither. There is so much about CPD that is great and worthy of our deepest respect. And yet no one is above scrutiny, especially our public institutions. This report is balanced, and the truth lies in the balance. Today’s findings are consistent with a police force that is proactive, vigilant and effective. One is a means to the other. I strongly believe implementing these findings is a necessary precursor to our long-term fight against violent crime in Chicago.

Chicago is a world class city that faces a tragic and challenging reality in the form of our gun violence epidemic. Especially last year, but for decades now, we have had too many people die from gun violence; too many kids struck by errant bullets; and entire neighborhoods on the south and west sides unfairly, disproportionately afflicted by gun violence. I spend a large chunk of every day working with CPD and others to stop gun violence in those neighborhoods. For over three years, that is what has kept me up at night. And one thing I have learned is that for us to succeed, we need to fix these systemic issues at CPD.

When officers do bad things and there’s no accountability, that hurts us all. It erodes trust. And when you repeat that pattern year after year, that breaks trust. Broken trust seriously impairs law enforcement. As Superintendent Johnson has said, if folks don’t trust and respect CPD, they won’t work with CPD. If victims, victims’ families, and witnesses across entire communities won’t provide information to help solve crimes and take violent criminals off the street, then crimes don’t get solved, and violence continues.

Today, with the City and CPD, we begin to fix that paradigm. By providing CPD officers first-class training, proper supervision, a promotion system that is fair and is perceived to be fair. By having an accountability system, with consistent rules and results, that holds officers accountable when they violate law or policy. By doing those things we rebuild trust and repair relationships, and make Chicago safer and stronger.

I am a public servant who believes police officers are the noblest of our public servants. They are women and men who’ve taken a job at modest pay where every day they wake up not knowing if they may get hurt or even killed. I’ve been in law enforcement most of my career, and I know that the vast majority of officers do that for this simple reason: they are good people; they care; they want to serve and protect; they want to love and live impactful lives as part of our community.
It’s time to give them what they need to succeed, and in doing so, help all of Chicago shine.
I’d like to turn it over to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who’ll make some remarks, followed by Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

McHenry County Has No Rules for Hiring Employees

Here is McHenry County’s reply to a Freedom of Information request from Woodstock’s Susan Handelsman.

Her question was

Please supply the written rules and protocol for hiring practices as they relate to publicly posting job openings and conducting applicant interviews.
Please cite the Statutory Authority and County Resolution for establishment of these rules and protocol.

She writes in a comment,

“I FOIAed the County protocol on posting open positions and hiring interview practices from the dept of Human Services.”

Below is the reply she received:

McHenry County does not have written rules for hiring practices as they relate to publicly posting job openings and conducting applicant interviews. [Emphasis added.]

McHenry County’s protocol is when an appointed department head is ready to fill a vacant budgeted position they notify Human Resources and Human Resources posts the position on our website and various other websites.

Human Resources then collects the applications electronically and forwards those applications to the departments.

The departments review the applications, interview candidates, and offer a position.

Human Resources then conducts background checks and schedules physicals if needed.

The department notifies Human Resources who they are going to hire and when.

We do encourage Elected Officials to follow the same process as the appointed department heads but they are not required to do so.

Since McHenry County does not have written rules for hiring practices, is unaware of any statutory authority, and does not have a County Resolution regarding hiring practices this response is a partial denial of your request.

You have a right to have the denial of your request reviewed by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. 5 ILCS 140/9.5(a).

You can file your Request for Review with the PAC by writing to:

Public Access Counselor Sarah Pratt
Office of the Attorney General
500 South 2nd Street, Springfield, Illinois 62706
Phone: 1-877-299-3642 Fax: 217-782-1396
E-mail: [email protected]

You also have the right to seek judicial review of your denial by filing a lawsuit in the State circuit court. 5 ILCS 140/11. If you choose to file a Request for Review with the PAC, you must do so within 60 calendar days of the date of this denial letter. 5 ILCS 140/9.5(a). Please note that you must include a copy of your original FOIA request and this denial letter when filing a Request for Review with the PAC.

Holly Eddy | Human Resource Analyst
McHenry County | 2200 N Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098
Phone: (815) 334-4219 | Fax: (815) 334-4648

Handelsman observes:

Looks like easy remedy, if County Board Member so desired: pass a resolution to create a protocol.

That would at least protect taxpayers from discrimination lawsuits.

Skillicorn’s Property Tax Referendum Thrown Off Ballot

The advisory referendum that soon-to-be State Representative Allen Skillicorn gathered petition signature for was thrown off the ballot by the McHenry County Electoral Board, a Friend of McHenry County Blog who attended the meeting wrote.

The McHenry County Electoral Board that kicked the tax limitation referendum off the ballot for lack of sufficient signatures.

The Board consisted of a representatives of the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Circuit Clerk’s Office and the County Clerk’s Office.

Although voting unanimously not to allow voters to have their say, all members of the Board said they would have voted in favor, had it had enough signatures to gain ballot access.

McHenry County Board member Joe Gottemoller acted as attorney for Chief Deputy County Clerk Linda Fitzgerald, who filed the complaint.

The referendum’s subject matter is similar to that suggested by McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks at the end of Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Franks allowed no discussion of his ideas for three referendums.

Rauner Appoints Former Dem Candidate for Governor Paul Vallas and Just Retired State Rep. Don Moffitt

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:

Governor Announces Appointments

CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner announced today he has made appointments to the Chicago State University Board of Trustees, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Department of Central Management Services and the Department of Agriculture.

Name: Paul Vallas
Position: Trustee – Chicago State University Board of Trustees

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Paul Vallas to the Chicago State University Board of Trustees. Vallas’ decades of transformational educational administration experience will be instrumental to Chicago State University.

Vallas was most recently the superintendent of the Bridgeport Connecticut Public School system where he assumed executive responsibilities for the administration and operation of the entire K-12 operation. His notable previous roles include being Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, the School District of Philadelphia, and the Recovery School District of Louisiana. Vallas was the Democratic nominee for Illinois Lieutenant Governor in 2014.

Vallas received his B.S and M.S. in political science from Western Illinois University.

Name: Tiffany Harper
Position: Trustee – Chicago State University Board of Trustees

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Tiffany Harper to the Chicago State University Board of Trustees. Harper’s years of experience in legal counsel and litigation will be a major asset to the success of Chicago State University.

Harper is currently associate counsel at Grant Thornton LLP in Chicago. As in-house counsel, she advises the firm on complex contract negotiation and drafting, bankruptcy and restructuring, human resources and general litigation matters. She previously was a Senior Associate at Polsinelli PC and an attorney at Navistar Financial Corporation.

Harper received her B.A. from Dartmouth College. She received her J.D. from Washington University School of Law.

Name: Nicholas Gowen
Position: Trustee – Chicago State University Board of Trustees

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Nicholas Gowen to the Chicago State University Board of Trustees. Gowen has over a decade of legal expertise that will be crucial to the strategic planning and implementation at Chicago State University.

Gowen is currently a partner practicing commercial litigation at Burke, Warren, MacKaw & Serritella P.C. He held similar commercial litigation roles at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cahn LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP.

Gowen received his B.A. in political science from University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his J.D. from University of Illinois College of Law.

Name: Kambium Buckner
Position: Trustee – Chicago State University Board of Trustees

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Kambium Buckner to the Chicago State University Board of Trustees. Buckner’s roles in policy, advising and neighborhood relations will help guide Chicago State University’s overarching strategy to success.

Buckner is currently the executive director at World Sport Chicago where he is responsible for overseeing the organization’s administration, budget programs and strategic planning. Past notable roles include being the senior manager of government and neighborhood relations for the Chicago Cubs. In that role, he coordinated and implemented Cubs’ community interactions, relationships with local elected officials and community outreach. He also acted as senior advisor to the Mayor of New Orleans.

Buckner received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Name: Jason Barclay
Position: Board Member – Illinois State Board of Education

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Jason Barclay to the Illinois State Board of Education. Barclay’s experience in state government coupled with his time working with an Indianapolis charter school make him uniquely qualified for the position.

Barclay is currently the General Counsel of Athletico Physical Therapy. Previously, he was General Counsel in the Office of Governor and oversaw the legal departments of Illinois’ Executive Branch. He also worked as a partner at Barnes & Thornburg and as an attorney for former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

In addition to his work as an attorney, Barclay helped found a technology-focused charter school in Indianapolis and served on its board. He has also volunteered for DARE.

Barclay earned his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his law degree from the University of Virginia. He lives in Hinsdale.

Name: Jimmy Odom
Position: Assistant Director – Department of Central Management Services

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Jimmy Odom the Assistant Director of Central Management Services. Odom’s experience in management and minority business development will make him an asset in this role.

Currently, Odom is the Senior Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Intersect Illinois, which is the non-profit working with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to grow the Illinois economy. Previously, he was a Senior Policy Adviser for Minority Business Development at DCEO where he oversaw the creation of ADME, a minority business development program designed to connect entrepreneurs to existing business networks to grow their business.

Odom is an entrepreneur and founded WeDeliver in 2012. The company connects consumers with stores to deliver products on-demand through the web.

Odom earned his degree from Columbia College. He lives in Homewood.

Name: Don Moffitt
Position: Assistant Director – Department of Agriculture

Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed former State Rep. Don Moffitt the Assistant Director of the Department of Agriculture. Moffitt is a lifelong farmer with extensive experience in state and local government, which makes him uniquely qualified for the role.

Moffitt represented the 74th District in the House of Representatives since 1993. He served as the minority spokesperson of the Agriculture & Conservation Committee and the Counties & Townships Committee. In addition, he co-chaired a fire protection task force and a task force for emergency medical services. He also served on a number of other committees ranging from education, public safety and infrastructure. Previously, he served as the Knox County Treasurer, and has held a number of other local government positions including mayor of Oneida. Moffitt also was a high school agriculture teacher.

Moffitt earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Illinois. He lives in Gilson.

Drug Induced Homicide Conviction

A press release from McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally:

DRUG DEALER FOUND GUILTY OF DRUG INDUCED HOMICIDE IN McHENRY COUNTY

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announced that 36 year-old James F. Linder of Zion, Illinois, was found guilty after a jury trial of the offense of Drug Induced Homicide. The Defendant will be sentenced on February 24, 2017 and faces between 15 and 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

“Dealing heroin is akin to dealing death,” said Kenneally. “We will continue to seek extended prison terms for drug dealers whose product kills someone in this community.”

The case centered around the overdose death of a 21 year-old victim who was brought to the Algonquin Village Hall in physical distress on January 31, 2015 at 1:30 a.m. Emergency responders found the victim unconscious.

Though immediately transported to the hospital, the victim died of heroin intoxication.

An investigation by the Algonquin Police Department, in conjunction with the North Central Narcotics Team, determined that the Defendant sold to the victim the heroin that caused her death.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese and Criminal Chief John Gibbons. The lead investigator was Detective Tim Cooney of the Algonquin Police Department.

Jack Franks Skeptic Addresses Second Advisory Referendum to Cut the Size of the County Board

From the experience of

  • 1982 when voters passed a Constitutional Amendment to cut the size of the Illinois House by one-third and
  • the election of Joe Tirio as Recorder of Deeds on a platform of doing away with that elective office, it seems obvious to me that any referendum that does away with elected officials will pass.

At the Committee of the Whole meeting McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks blindsided County Board members at the end of the meeting with a proposal to put three referendums on the April 4th ballot.

This was exactly what he complained about when member Craig Wilcox tried to abate the multi-million Valley Hi tax re-imposed on citizens at the last meeting of the outgoing County Board in November.

But at least Wilcox’ proposal got discussion.

Franks’ did not.

One passionate commenter, “Cautious Voter,” wrote the following in reply to “Billy Bob:”

Billy Bob: The referendum would be the result of the ‘advisory’ referendum.

The advisory referendum was put on last year’s ballot in preparation for the takeover of the County by the “little liar”.

Now that the voters have agreed to reducing the size of the Board, the “Little Liar” is taking the next step to actually reduce the Board.

A smaller Board will have three distinct ramifications:

1. As mentioned, the “little liar” can use his campaign funds to get more people who will be subservient to the “little liar” elected.

2. Each Board member will have a staff and an office at the County Building – costs will go UP!

3. The taxpayers will have less representation and County Staff will have more power.

The “little liar” has already reduced taxpayer influence by cutting the number of meetings and the number of committees.

You will be told that his actions will reduce costs but I ask you:

Who gained more power with those actions?

Staff.

Who lost representation?

The taxpayers.

Franks Continues Trying to Keep County Board Off Balance

Jack Franks

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks continues his Lone Ranger approach to County government, despite saying he wants to work collaboratively.

His latest foray is telling the members that he is putting three advisory referendums on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

None has been considered in committee.

Donna Kurtz strongly advocated not bypassing committee.

Franks said he got the ideas on his drive home from Springfield and that the deadline was before another meeting could be held.

Craig Wilcox pointed out that a special meeting could be held.

One advisory referendum would ask voters if they want to cut the County Board in half, from 24 to 12 members, and make each candidate run from single member districts.

This is a typical thrust by a minority party who wants to gain seats it cannot obtain in a multi-member district.

The reason is that minority party members generally cannot marshal enough resources to win in a multi-member district.

Consider that the only Democrat winning a seat in the last election was Paula Yensen, even though candidates were running in every County Board district.

Personally, I see Franks effort to cut the Board side in half as a way to consolidate power.

The fewer members, the easier to obtain a majority.

The second would ask pretty much what State Rep. Allen Skillicorn tried to get on the ballot–an advisory referendum asking voters if they want a property tax levy freeze.

This is hypocritical considering Franks put an $80,000 tax levy hike on the agenda of the last ballot.  It passed.

One of Joe Tirio’s web site. (The other is IWontHireMyWife.com.)

Thirdly, an advisory referendum asking whether voters agreed with Recorder of Deeds Joe Tirio’s idea of abolishing his job.

And, if this idea ever gets to committee, might I suggest a question as well:

Should Jack Franks hire patronage employees without following the county ordinan

Deal Between McHenry Township Republican Factions Puts All on Ballot

Like Lazarus coming back from the dead, McHenry Republican candidacies for Township Trustee and Clerk regained ballot access in short meetings of various McHenry Township Electoral Boards Thursday morning.

Attorneys Steve Verr and Jim Kelly discussed the agreement they have reached to allow both sides on the ballot.

The candidacies of the five Republican candidates, selected by caucus, had been previously terminated by Electoral Boards.

They were

  • Dan Aylward – Clerk
  • Mike Rakestraw – Trustee
  • Bill Cunningham – Trustee
  • Stan Wojewksi – Trustee
  • Bob Anderson – Trustee

Hearings on the challenges to the Independent candidates, most of whom were appointed as and because they were members of the Republican Party, but who did not participate in the GOP Caucus, were supposed to be heard today.

Something happened, however, since Monday to convince both sides that it would be best to allow the fight to take place at the April 4th election.

To review what McHenry County Blog has been reporting, petition challenges were filed by

  • Republicans against Independents
  • Independents against Republicans
  • Democrats against Republicans
  • Republicans against Democrats

Prior to today, the challenges of Republicans against Democrats and Democrats against Republicans had been dismissed.

The Republican petition challenge was dismissed on lack of evidence; the Democratic Party’s was dismissed because the complainant was not in attendance when his petition was called.

Township Supervisor Craig Adams was the point man filing challenges against all of the Republican candidates.

Hearings concluded in a 2-1 vote to kick the GOP Trustee candidates off the ballot.

Adams and public member David Stone voted for that action, while public member Steve Haugh voted in opposition.  You can read the rationale here.

The arguments Adams used against GOP Clerk candidate Dan Alyward can be found here.

Two of Adams running mates, along with public member David Stone, comprised the Alyward Electoral Board–Trustees Gary Barla and Neal Shepler.

As of Friday, after the Clerk and Trustee candidates lost ballot access the Republican Party’s slate consisted of two people

  • Steve Verr for Supervisor
  • Steve Koerber for Road Commissioner

At the beginning of a series of very short hearings, Township Attorney James G. Militello III announced,

“All objectors have come to agreement that all objections will be withdrawn.”

Then there were a series of short meetings where motions were quickly passed.

One of the McHenry Township Electoral Boards that reinstated the Republican candidates who had previously been denied ballot access.  Seated are Public member David Stone, Township Supervisor Craig Adams and Township Clerk Marshal Nelson.

Now the Republican slate is back to full strength, minus a candidate for Assessor against incumbent Mary Mahady.

The Independents were spared going though petition challenges, which, based on past decisions, one might suspect their running mates would have dismissed.

Subpoenaed items included video of the township offices which would have shown whether certain filings were at 11:55 AM or 11:55 PM.  Both appeared and one the PM one was characterized as a “typo.”

That and other potentially damaging testimony now won’t go on the public record.

That means the Independents‘ slate is the following:

Supervisor – Craig Adams
Assessor – No candidate
Road Commissioner – James Conlon
Clerk – Marsha Nelson
Trustees

  • Garla Barla
  • Neal Schepler
  • Sue Draffkorn
  • Craig Wallace

Democrats on the ballot will be

Supervisor – No candidate
Assessor – Mary Mahady
Road Commissioner – No candidate
Clerk – Judith Gottlieb
Trustee

  • Mary Ellen Shine
  • Sue Miller
  • Robert Beltran
  • Luis Eric Aquilar

McConnaughay Praises Term Limits for Senate Leaders

A press release from State Senator Karen McConnaughay:

Sen. McConnaughay applauds Senate rule change imposing term limits

“Term Limits for Legislative Leaders, 1800-SHAKE-UP” reads the sign used in Cal Skinner’s 2002 Libertarian Party campaign for Governor.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) issued the following response to a newly adopted Senate Resolution imposing term limits on Senate Leaders:

“I whole-heartedly believe this is a clear sign from the Illinois Senate that there is a commitment to facilitate change in how we do business,” said McConnaughay.

“While the Senate adopting term limits for the Senate President and Minority Leader is just a small step forward, I believe it demonstrates much-needed momentum as lawmakers gear up to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing this state.”

Senator As passed, Senate Resolution 3 amends the Senate Rules and implements a limit of five terms for Senate President and five terms for Senate Minority Leader.

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Here’s the language:

No Senator shall be elected to the office of President of the Senate for more than five General Assemblies; provided that service as President before the commencement of the 100th General Assembly nor service as President [Minority Leader] under subsection (d) of this Section shall not be considered in the calculation of the Senator’s service.

Term Limits for Leaders

“Term Limits for Legislative Leaders, 1800-SHAKE-UP”reads the sign used in Cal Skinner’s 2002 Libertarian Party campaign for Governor.

It took fifteen years for my third party suggestion that the problem with Illinois politics was the lack of new legislative leaders to bear fruit.

When Jim Tobin and I announced our candidacies for Lt. Governor and Governor on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2002, the sign in front of the podium in Jim’s office said,

Term Limits for Leaders

Now, I hear that Senate President John Cullerton has apparently passed a rule saying that Senate Presidents cannot serve more than ten years.

So, just as some Third Parties have influenced the content of national politics, while not winning, it seems that my idea has staying power.

Oakwood Hills President Thanks Road Commissioners

The following email has been received from Oakwood Hills Village President Paul Smith:

THANK YOU NUNDA & ALGONQUIN TOWNSHIPS

Paul Smith

I want to extend my personal THANK YOU to both Mike Lesperance of Nunda Township & Robert Miller of Algonquin Township for their kind, generous, and low cost options, as well as the excellent work they have provided The Village of Oakwood Hills with our Road Projects & Repairs.

Your service to our community is greatly appreciated.

Early Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Sign Battle

Usually, candidates complain about opponents stealing their signs.

Now, however, Algonquin Township Road Commissioner candidate Andrew Gasser is disturbed one of opponent Bob Miller’s supporters has put a Miller sign in front of a Gasser sign.

In his email advising of the impoliteness, Gasser says,

As we kick off the 2017 #DTS campaign I am asking for help with sign locations. I really would like more.

I have over 60 safely in the ground but more is better!

Sadly, and we knew this crap was coming, my opponent is already playing the childish games we have all come to expect.

When they go low we go high.

Attached is picture of a sign location I have used since 2012. Never once has any sign here had issues.

There is plenty of room to either side but this is just who they are.

They have over $420,000 reasons to want to win this election – we want to win because it would be better for our community.

There is no reason to get upset at these silly tactics of his.

This is why my campaign is OUR campaign.

We want to bring more people into politics, especially local politics, not discourage them.

I am walking everyday now. I would love to walk with those of you who would like to do so.

Finally, my fundraiser is tomorrow night and I hope you all can make it.

Questioning Jack Franks Patronage Hire End Run Around the County Board

Listened to a little of the end of the McHenry County Internal Services Committee recording and discovered a couple of the members are none too happy that McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has hired to patronage employees without County Board approval.

Donna Kurtz

Donna Kurtz of Crystal Lake started off.

She told of “a rumor circulating that a staff person was hired for the Chairman” and asked if it were true.

Administrator Peter Austin replied that “the Chairman has a need for an Executive Assistant” and that he had “talked to a number of Board members about the idea.”

He said there was a “need to go back to clean-up the job description” and find how “we can fund it.”

“I am hugely disappointed with you for allowing [the hiring] without going through committee.

“He [Jack Franks] didn’t talk to me,” Kurtz revealed.

She asserted that “there is a legal requirement” for hiring people and that the Franks hiring had not gone through it.

“As a professional manager I can’t understand that you have allowed this to happen,” she told Austin.

“Chairman Franks, he’s new and he’s gong to ask for everything.  It’s your job to say, ‘No.'”

Mike Walkup

Mike Walkup of Crystal Lake was up next.

He pointed out that Franks was being paid $82,000 a year and that nothing has changed the job.

“It’s the same job,” the man Franks pointed out.

“There is not call for any additional staffing.

“This is government by fiat.

“If we the Board doesn’t have a back bone right now, we can just hang it up.

“I don’t care what slush fund you took that from.

“We didn’t approve it.

“What does the new chairman do that all the chairmen in the past didn’t do?’

Yvonne Barnes

Committee head Yvonne Barnes then spoke.

“The position does not exist.

“Some have heard that there was another vacancy and the money was taken from that position” and used to pay for the Executive Assistant.

“How does one walk into HR [Human Resources] and get a job that wasn’t posted?” Barnes asked.

She observed that this action was a reason the Human Resources Committee should exist.

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Read about the two employees Jack Franks and Peter Austin hired.

Complaint from a County Board Member

Yvonne Barnes

At the Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday, McHenry County Board member Yvonne Barnes noted that Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting agenda packet “was blank.”

She said she had to wait until the County Board’s January 17th agenda was posted before she could find out what would be considered.

Barnes said when the Board agenda packet was published it included items that had not yet been approved by committees, including the committee on which she was sitting.

“That’s not transparency,” she said.

“People want time to contact staff and County Board members.

County Board Chairman Jack Franks is in charge of setting agendas.

McClellan Gains Support for Rapid Election Software Payment

Mary McClellan

“Houston, we have a problem,” began McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan’s presentation of the Finance Committee of the County Board Wednesday.

She explained that she could not conduct the February 28th township primary elections without the voting software from Dominion Voting Systems.

The problem is that, unlike last year, she was advised that she had to go out of bid because the Purchasing Ordinance requires that of items costing more than $20,000

Since the payment was almost $26,087.40, the Auditor’s Office and the Purchasing Office held up the payment.

McClellan pointed out that the purchase should have been allowed because the vendor is the sole source, an exception to the bidding requirement in the Purchasing Ordinance.

McClellan cite a case brought by Cook County Circuit Clerk Aurelia Pucinski which concluded county officials mentioned in the State Constitution had the say so about spending money once the County Board passed its budget.

She also pointed to a state law which used the word “shall” with reference to County Board duties with regard to paying election costs.

McClellan said she did not want to have to file a mandamus suit (a case asking the court to force a public official or board to do it duty).

“I don’t want to go there.  I want to work this out,” she said.

Finance Committee Chairman Mike Skala and other members expressed their desire to solve McClellan’s problem, scheduling a meeting before Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Associate County Administrator for Finance Ralph Sarbaugh pointed out that McClellan could have put in a resolution.

“You guys slammed me at 3:30 on the afternoon of Christmas Eve,” she replied vigorously.

None of the committee members objected to approving the payment, but Yvonne Barnes stated,

“I don’t want to get in the habit of putting something on the [County Board] agenda without going through the process.”