Bob Anderson Wins One – County Board Puts Anti-Double-Dipping Referendum on Ballot

Bob Anderson made his pitch to put an anti-double dipping question on the fall ballot for a second time Thursday. He won the fight 11-9.

Wonder Lake activist-barber Bob Anderson got a referendum on the November without having to go door-to-door.

The question was on an issue upon which Governor Pat Quinn built his political career.

Until he had to depend upon double-dippers to advance his public career, every year Coalition for Political Honesty’s Quinn published a list of those with two public jobs.

Anderson’s question is more narrow.

The question that approved by the County Board on an 11-9 vote reads like this:

Should Illinois Law permit an individual to hold two or more public elected offices simultaneously?

It doesn’t address, for instance, County Board members who have a pay check coming from another unit of government which is appointed, rather than elected.

In his comments to the County Board, Anderson cited seven public officials, most present or former state legislators.

The debate was interesting.

One, State Senator Bill Peterson, used to represent part of McHenry County.  He earned $83,804 as a State Senator and $90,000 as Vernon Township Supervisor.

Currently, I am only aware of Algonquin’s Marc Munaretto’s being personally affected.  Besides being on the County Board, he is Algonquin Township Clerk.  Because of McHenry County’s population he is prohibited by law from holding both posts after the next election.  Munaretto did not run for re-election to the County Board and has not announced his intentions with regard to a Township Clerk candidacy.

Jim Heisler introduced the question, outlining the options–putting the question on the ballot, putting it on the County’s legislative wish list (my term) next year, plus a third option I didn’t catch.

Sandra Salgado

“I will be voting for it,” Sandy Salgado said.  “I’m in favor of asking voters whenever we can.”

Reflecting on the votes of those whose re-election chances might be affected if an opponent charged they had not been willing to trust the people, I think her comment might have had more effect than might have been apparent at the beginning of the debate.

Virginia Peschke agreed with Salgado.

She related how she had been a Bull Valley Village Trustee when first elected and, although she didn’t see then and hasn’t seen a conflict since, state law prohibited her from holding both elected offices simultaneously.

“In general, I think it’s a good idea.  There’s much too much opportunity for conflict.”

Democrat Kathy Bergan Schmidt disagreed.

“I will be voting against this.  The Legislative Committee (on which she serves) gave it a good thorough discussion.  We decided to include it as part of next year’s legislative program.”

Her basic pitch seemed to be that the Board should not contradict the Committee’s recommendation.

Nick Provenzano spoke in opposition, too.

He argued that Anderson should have gathered enough signatures, the same way Jack Franks did for his County Executive referendum, that County Board-initiated referendums should deal with questions on which Board members seek advice.

Donna Kurtz said that the democratic process benefits from involvement of more people.  Anderson’s reading of the double-dipping salaries “must have made your stomach crawl.”

Having people hold two offices at the same time “shut(s) down the opportunity for involvement of other people in the process to prevent the concentration of power.”

Diane Evertsen pointed out that people don’t step up to the plate as far as running for office goes…”except in District 6.”

Mary Donner rose to the defense of former Senator Peterson.

“To think that someone would run for State Senator and Township Supervisor to line their pockets, I find offensive.”

[Hold that thought because Kurtz found Donner’s characterization of her remarks offensive and said so later.]

The second Democrat on the County Board, Paula Yensen, whose husband Mike Bissett is Chairman of the McHenry County Democratic Party, disagreed with Schmidt.

She related how she had resigned as a Trustee in the Village of Lake in the Hills when she was elected to the County Board.

Ersel Schuster, who was Seneca Township Supervisor while serving on the County Board, also opposed the ballot question.

“Transparency is out there.  In so many cases, the individual served the people well.”

[It should be noted that until a U.S. Supreme Court case in the early 1970’s Township Supervisors were automatically on the County Board–all 17 of them.  In addition, the larger townships, Algonquin, McHenry, Nunda and Dorr elected misnamed “Assistant Supervisors,” whose sole duties were to serve on the County Board.]

Randy Donley

“Much of what I see I just can’t stand,” Randy Donley said.

“So many things are wrong…just not illegal.”

Salgado rebutted Munaretto argument that resolutions put on the ballot should reflect issues for which the County Board sought guidance.

“I also represent the people. Let them choose, not us.”

“What impact will it have on McHenry County. It’s purely advisory. It expresses a public opinion,” Munaretto opined.

“I was not aware that Senator Peterson had another job,” Peshke added.

“I just think a man can’t serve two masters.”

Then it was Kurtz’ turn again.

“I don’t think there’s anything more distasteful than taking comments {out of context] and then turning them around and personalizing them.”

She said she did not use the term “lining pockets.”

Provenzano pointed out that being on a Township Board and the County Board is already prohibited by law.

Regarding prohibiting people from holding two elected offices, “It should be up to the voters. Senator Peterson got voted in over and over.”

Next, Donner apologized to Kurtz. “That’s what I heard.”

Absent from the 11-9 vote to put Anderson’s question on the ballot were Bob Bless, Pete Merkel, Bob Nowak and Barb Wheeler.


Comments

Bob Anderson Wins One – County Board Puts Anti-Double-Dipping Referendum on Ballot — 10 Comments

  1. Kudos to Mr. Anderson.

    This has driven me crazy for a long time.

  2. Bill Peterson works 2 x 40 hr/week (80 hours total) jobs!

    LOL

    Just shows how little work is required for those 2 jobs and that the pay should be cut in half (at least).

  3. This is going to be strictly advisory.

    In order to do anything the General Assembly (ie. Mike Madigan), has to enact something.

    Don’t hold your breath on that.

  4. The question does go on the ballot because the County Board placed it there.

  5. Great job, Bob!

    You’ve taken their criticism for years.

    Munaretto is typically arrogant, suggesting that referendums are for the County Board seeking guidance!

    if that were true, we’d need a separate ballot just for those issues, i.e., where the County Board could use some guidance.

    Provenzano just wants to make it more difficult to get issues like this on the ballot, by making a person go out and get signatures.

    Nick – how many oard Members speaking against the referendum, can you tell me if they hold more than one government, political job, have benefitted from their position on the County Board and their “day job”, have held an additional, paid appointment, e.g. Pace Board, as well as seat on County Board?

    P.S. where were Bob Bless and Nowak, the invisible Dist 1 County Board Members? wonder how many meetings they attend; do they deserve $20,000+?

  6. Now if we can stop the double pensions.

    Many retired and collect two and three STATE pensions. Jack Shafer. Senate, and one other pensions and still has an appointed job with the state making huge $$$$$$.

    Guys that retire as a chief or cops at one Police Department and go to the Sheriff and get a second.

    Teachers that retire under TRS then go to work the next day at the same school under an IMRF pension position and get a pension after 5 years.

    Double dipping must go!

  7. “To think that someone would run for State Senator and Township Supervisor to line their pockets, I find offensive.”

    Mary Donner….please!

    Either you are that dense or you actually believe this quote.

    The latter is more idiotic.

    Ms. Donner: Wake up and smell the political roses.

    This IS the problem.

    If you don’t see it, small wonder our state is in the financial situation we are in.

    I believe that if YOU were paying the salaries and benefits of those double dipping, the abuse would end rather quickly.

  8. We have several County Board members who are multiple government payrolls.

    Pete Merkel works for the city of McHenry,
    Anna Mae Miller works for the the Algonquin Township,
    Tina Hill worked for Rep. Tryon for years…

    As to Diana’s comment- how many people do you think can take an elected office that meets during the middle of the day?

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