Ersel Schuster’s Take on County Board’s Committee of the Whole Meeting

From former County Board member Ersel Schuster:

Ersel Schuster

Ersel Schuster

If you did not have the time to listen to your McHenry County Board Members at their meeting today… please, take the time to listen to it for yourself at  [Try here.]

This is the first COW (Committee of the Whole) meeting of the new county board.

A meeting designed to “discuss” the 12/20/16 meeting agenda items.

No “action/changes” can be made at a COW meeting.

So, everything will go back through the process when they convene tomorrow evening.

If, as taxpayers, we were not sure how this new board and the chairman’s self-imposed new operating process were going to work… this gives us an excellent glimpse of that process.

With the exception of a handful of astute members; you could liken the rest of them to resembling “deer caught in the headlights.”

The unfortunate part is that when this happens, rather than look stupid for asking questions, most will simply go-along with what is placed before them.

Item #13 on the agenda alone, has 48 items for action.

Never mind nearly all these items did not go through the respective committees for thorough vetting.

Further, this agenda consists of over 700 pages of detailed documents, contracts and resolutions for the members to wade through.

As you listen… it will be clear that even returning board members are not up to speed on these items.

What about the new members who have no clue what most of the documents mean?

This dog-and-pony show was a complete disgrace.

People we elect to office are supposed to be our watch-dogs; they oversee actions of county government’s departments; and, they are to be the check and balance of what these bureaucrats are doing and how they’re spending our money.

It was apparent that staff, “some” county board members, and the Chairman have made decisions the full board should have been privy to… prior to being put in the position of having to take action on the agenda items.

I do not blame individual board members for this mess…

I will however hold them accountable if they abdicate their sworn duties and allow this charade to continue and to grow.

If they, the 24 county board members are unwilling to stand up to all the things being shoved down their throats… they really need to resign because they are not representing us.


Ersel Schuster’s Take on County Board’s Committee of the Whole Meeting — 8 Comments

  1. I’m confused. I thought the COW was supposed to be 8 days before the full county board meeting.

    That’s what Franks wanted during the ad hock meeting.

    How is this transparency?

  2. Good Board Policy or Bad Board Policy


    Spacing the Committee of the whole meeting (at which no action / changes can be made) two weeks prior to the Regular Board meeting would be taxpayer / voter / citizen friendly.

    Two weeks allows taxpayers, voters, citizens, board members etc. time to read and contemplate changes, and prepare public comments about the proposed changes.

    That would be good board policy.

    Having the Committee of the Whole meeting, at which items are discussed that will come up for vote at the next Regular Board Meeting, only one day before the next Regular Board Meeting is bad board policy.


    If the process is flawed, there is a good chance the outcome will not be in favor of the rank and file taxpayer, voter, and citizen.

  3. But!


    The cowards do not want to labelled as being ‘obstructionist’!!

    We need to elect more deplorables!

    Hopefully some deplorables will sign up as School Board candidates!

  4. I don’t give a flying leap if they’re labeled as obstructionist.

    If you prevent a dictatorship, you’re doing the right thing!

  5. One series of comments from the audio generated some concerns.

    Regarding item #48 which, apparently, was related to modifying the levy in order to capture more taxes due to some type of significant error that occurred with the new growth estimate from one of the township assessors offices.

    If I’m wrong, I apologize since the board packet was not available for download.

    Mr. Kearns questioned why the incremental levy revenue from this modification was going toward Capital Expenditures instead of debt reduction or something else of value.

    Mr. Skala responded by stating that he wanted the taxes on new growth to pay for the county services that are consumed by the new growth.

    However, the county had a list of deferred capital projects and that the incremental revenue would be used as a placeholder for where to spend those dollars.

    If your organizing principle on capturing new growth is to offset the incremental operational expenditures incurred by that new growth, that revenue would go to fund day-to-day operations (i.e. Police, Courts, etc.).

    It would not go to fund a list of already outstanding projects.

    Mr. Kearns followed up by asking if they didn’t capture this growth, does that township get the benefit?

    The answer was: “pretty much”.
    = = = = =
    Which was wrong.
    = = = = =
    The correct answer is that the county’s overall extension would be lower by the amount of the missing new growth and everyone in the county would have seen a slight decrease in their taxes.

  6. The County Board posted a one page agenda packet (Full Agenda) for the December 19, 2016 meeting.

    The 1 page agenda packet includes the sentence, “Review the December 20, 2016 County Board agenda items.”

    The December 20, 2016 Regular Board meeting agenda packet is 721 pages.

    Item 48 of the December 20, 2016 Regular Board meeting agenda packet:

    “Resolution Authorizing an Amendment to Ordinance #O-201611-12-045 Providing for the Levy of Taxes to Account for Additional New Property Growth as Reported by the Townships, and an Amendment to Ordinance #O-201611-12-046 Setting the Annual Budget and Appropriations for the County’s FY 2016-2017 to Adjust the General Property Tax Revenue and Expenditures to Account for the Property Tax Levy Adjustment.”

    The 1 page resolution which follows that paragraph is on page 529 of 721.

  7. Wow, Martha.

    What a stupid taunt, even for you.

    Ersel has done her time.

    Why don’t you get an education and learn to do something to help others.

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