County Board Pensions and Health Insurance

From left to right are County Board District 1 candidates Yvonne Barnes, Terence Ferenc, Anna May Miller and Tom Wilbeck; District 2 candidates Cameron Hubbard, John Reinert and Jeff Thorsen; and District 3 candidates Nancy Gonsiorek,

From left to right are County Board District 1 candidates Yvonne Barnes, Terence Ferenc, Anna May Miller and Tom Wilbeck; District 2 candidates Cameron Hubbard, John Reinert and Jeff Thorsen; and District 3 candidates Nancy Gonsiorek, Nick Provenzano, Cherie Rickert and Mike Walkup.

There were two questions asked of all candidates who participated (only Mary McCann did not) in the McHenry County League of Women Voters candidates’ forums for County Board:

  • Pensions (and insurance the second time around)
  • Homelessness

I’ll deal with the second question Friday

The moderator went to the topic of County Board members getting pension and health insurance first with District 1, 2 and 3 candidates because 10-11 people submitted questions on those topics.

(See what District 4, 5, and 6 candidates, minus Mary McCann, said to the pension question here.)

Terence Ferenc

Terence Ferenc

Fox River Grove District 1 candidate Terence Ferenc spoke first.

“I won’t take either of them,” the retired U.S. Navy Seabee said.

Anna May Miller

Anna May Miller

District 1 incumbent Anna May Miller replied,

“I do take the IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund).”

Regarding insurance she said she had the “option and I said, ‘No.'”

Miller does have health insurance from her job at the Algonquin Township Road District.

Tom Wilbeck

Tom Wilbeck

Tom Wilbeck, also running in District 1 and a former member of the McHenry County College Board, promised not to “take a pension,” but said he would take a look at health insurance.

“I guarantee you you will get a full-time [effort].”

Cameron Hubbard

Cameron Hubbard

Cameron Hubbard of District 2 explained he didn’t plan on taking the health insurance.

With regard to the pension, the financial advisor said, “I will look into the pension and see what the benefits are.”

John Reinert

John Reinert

District 2 opponent John Reinert said he doubted “very much” whether he would serve long enough to qualify for the pension.

With regard to the health insurance:  “I probably would look at it.”

He noted that the existence of the health insurance made it “more enticing” to run.

Jeff Thorsen

Jeff Thorsen

Recently appointed to replace District 2 Board member Ken Koehler, Jeff Thorsen told the crowd, “I currently don’t take either one.

“I see it as a litmus test for some people.”

Nancy Gonsiorek

Nancy Gonsiorek

Nancy Gonsiorek of District 3 said, “I do not intend to take the pension.”

Speaking to the question, she continued, “I think it is an irrelevant [issue].” [This quote is questioned by Gonsiorek.  She thinks Thorsen said it, but my notes have it next to her name.  I’ll try to check it out.]

She noted that she would lose health insurance on her husband’s policy, if she were elected.

Nick Provenzano

Nick Provenzano

Incumbent Nick Provenzano gave the most direct answer:  “Yes and yes,” indicating he is in the pension system and takes the health insurance.

“I quite honestly am focused on much bigger dollars,” he continued, claiming credit for engineering $14 million in property tax savings on the $350,000,000 county budget.

He said that if a member were focusing on $40,000 in savings, “it’s a wasted seat.”

Cherie Rickert

Cherie Rickert

Cheri Rickert, a member of the McHenry County Ethics Commission and a retiree from the McHenry Grade School District, said, “I don’t have plans now to take the insurance. and I won’t take the IMRF (she explained why, but I couldn’t write fast enough).

Mike Walkup is currently in both the pension and the insurance programs.

Yvonne Barnes

Yvonne Barnes

Then, the rotation method of asking questions returned to District 1 and incumbent Yvonne Barnes.

“I do participate in the programs now.  I anticipate I will continue to participate.

“I certainly agree that the benefits are not appropriate for a part-time position.”

The Vice Chairwoman of the County Board explained that she works full-time on the job.

She proposed that County Board members be allowed to participate, “but they pick up the cost.”


County Board Pensions and Health Insurance — 14 Comments

  1. If a county board member decides not to take the insurance, does that save the taxpayers any money?

    Or does the ‘surplus’ just then go to feed other programs?

    I’d like to know the answer because when it came to cutting money for Valley High, board members were unaware that cutting the budget would not lower the levy.

  2. Wake up voters!!!

    STAFF writes the budget!

    STAFF directs committee chairmen including the County Board Chair!

    STAFF dictates every agenda item!!

    Unless you elect County Board members willing to DICTATE to staff and NOT willing to accept the ORDERS of the County Manager, your taxes will NEVER decline!!!

    When was the last time anyone was terminated by the County Board?

    Forget about pensions and benefits for County Board members (they should not get any but set that aside) and concentrate on determining who knows what she / he is talking about and is willing to dictate to STAFF!

  3. Questioning,
    Is there somebody on the county staff you think should be fired, and why?

  4. These two comments were interesting:

    John Reinert noted that the existence of the health insurance made it “more enticing” to run.

    Kind of self serving which as you read the other comments seems to be the case with almost all of the candidates.

    Of course candidate Terence has a pension and health care already, so saying no would be easy.

    Tom Wilbeck, said he would take a look at health insurance.

    I thought Tom said this was a part time JOB that didn’t deserve benefits?

    Does the waffle need syrup? 🙂

  5. How long has it been since Provenzano could hold a real job?

    And not have to bill the Taxpayers for his family’s insurance?

  6. Nob:
    I said that the tax payers would be getting a full time employee with me on the board.

    I also said that taxpayers should stay away from volunteer boards like school /library boards.

    Look what kind of people run for those boards and the resulting representation.

    Once again with me, no agenda, just hard questions and GENUINE representation.

    Take a look at my MCC record.

    Expect more on the county board.

  7. The MCBOT “Gravy Train” continues to roll . . .

    All Aboard!

    Taxpayers please watch your step I mean your wallets your in for another expensive ride!

    Full time benefits for part-time board position, at least $35 Million Dollars in illegal taxation for county nursing home and yet, so much more!

    Enjoy the Ride because you have no choice. . .

    Did the staff who created the county budget ever inform the sleepy MCBOT of the excessive and illegal reserves ($41 Million Dollars) at Valley Hi?

    Did the attorney assigned to MCBOT ever inform the board of the illegality of continued taxation once Valley Hi reserves passed 2x amount of annual revenues needed to operate Valley Hi?

    Where are the two lawyers running for chairman of MCBOT on this issue? Their silence is deafening!

    Be weary of any MCBOT member who calls this board positon a full-time job.

    He or she was either in back of the class or is telling us the liquid on our leg is really rain.

    Gee, maybe the “Walsh Freedom Walkers” can convince enough of you to vote for even more of their people. You know, “real small government conservatives”.

  8. Tom,
    Are board members job to be considered as full or a part time job?

  9. You people fail to realize the County Board is an OVERSIGHT committee!!!!

    They vote on financial matters, but they don’t tell the county administrators “what to do”.

  10. Simple- make the health care available for full fee.

    There is NO compelling reason why an elected position should have healthcare paid for by the taxpayer.

    This is a board to provide governance.

    Most of the statements made that night were out and out fabrication of the amount of impact they can have as a board member.

    I should not be paying your healthcare=- PERIOD!!!!!!

    And why for goodness sake are you even entitled to a pension?

    This has historically been a Republican dominated board- but all the slush is hard to step through.

    Mileage, healthcare, pensions….

    It isn’t a full time job, Tom.

    It isn’t a JOB.

    Jobs require experience and skills.

    You can be fired This is an elected position in which you need to no skills- as evident by the number of people on that stage that do not understand how taxes work, that prevailing wage is a state mandate, or that you only oversee a small part of my tax bill.

  11. I don’t know how many times I’ve said it here.

    My Texas State Senator, not just some local drube, gets paid $7200 a year, helping run a State 5X the size, 4 X the GDP and 3X more populous than Illinois.

    Billions in the black and they just passed, get this Illinois Pols, a constitutional amendment to lower prop taxes.

    Yes they actually routinely amend the Constitution to benefit the people.

    Your local yocals actually think that outrageous amount in tiny McHenry County is acceptable.

    They say all politics are local?

    It’s the Illinois mindset of entitlement which has wrecked the State.

  12. Inish, as usual, you fail to know what you’re talking about.

    The county board IS a full-time job if done right.

    Done right means you read the packet you’re given.

    If we don’t give some sort of benefit, all you will get on the board is rich retirees.

    No thanks.

    I don’t want rich property owners deciding what to do with our county when it will just further benefit them!

    I wish people would know more about the workings of politics before making comments that prove their narrow-minded ignorance.

  13. I guess Jeebus can’t read.

    A piddly County like McHenry pays like 22 people, 5X what a Texas State Senator makes?

    Oh that’s right, Jeebus and Illinois call it a job and other States call it Public Service.

    The Illinois entitlement mindset.

  14. From his most recent blog I just figured out who “Jeebus” is, BOB NOWAK.

    For him I believe it is a full-time job. “No thanks.

    I don’t want rich property owners deciding what to do with our county when it will just further benefit them!”


    In additon to making sure these rich property bastards don’t get on the Board let’s take their money too through more aggregious taxation and waste.

    I didn’t know Bernie Sanders was a reader of this blog . .

    Good job Cal you managed to reel in the luntatic fringe.


    Time to take a break!

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