Jack Franks’ Democratic Party Patronage Communication Specialist’s Early Work Product

On January 12th, I filed the following Freedom of Information request with McHenry County:

Under the FOIA I request documents showing the work product of the new Communications Specialist.

Please also include copies of
  • all emails and other electronic transmissions mentioning his name,
  • having been sent by him or
  • having been received by him.

Now a 63-page response has been received about Communications Specialist Oliver Stafani.

There are some attachments, noted at the bottom of some emails, including a speech Jack Franks gave at the very end of the Committee of the Whole meeting in which he first told the County Board that he wanted three advisory referendums on the ballot on the Thursday before the Tuesday County Board meeting at which they would be considered.

Of course, Franks started the Committee of the Whole meetings in order to give McHenry County Board members a chance to talk over what would be considered at the Tuesday meetings.

“Do as I say, not as I do,” I guess.

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Jack Franks’ Democratic Party Patronage Communication Specialist’s Early Work Product — 38 Comments

  1. Lets do it (email a document) right after (the meeting) so questions about the email don’t become a topic of discussion at the meeting.


  2. Austin agreed to send him an offer letter before he would have had any chance to review the application or check references.

    Does the County have any sort of written policy for vetting job applications?

  3. It bears repeating because Cal won’t post it – if a job posting lays vacant for 90 days, Peter Austin can reassign the funds/position where he sees fit.

    The county board’s human resources committee cannot amend the rule because

    (1) Franks won’t call a vote on the issue and

    (2) there isn’t a chair to the committee.

    So, you are literally spinning-your-tires-stupid to think the board can change anything.

    Also, Creepy Cal Skinner forgets to point out that the line item for the chairman’s budget mysteriously vanished in the December budget (also the same budget that didn’t include the $80k) prior to Franks taking office.

    Creepy Cal Skinner also fails to disclose that nearly all regional Chairmen have a budget for staff.

    Also, Creepy Cal Skinner forgot to tell you that the voters created a new countywide elected chairman position that has more statutory powers and is treated like every other county wide elected official, such as the states attorney and the sheriff who are able to hire and fire.

    I don’t hear Creepy Cal calling for the firing of one of Keaneally’s 14 staffers.

    Because the board failed to create a line item simply means they broke the law.

    They have an obligation to ensure countywide officials under their rules get paid.

    Because they broke the law is not a reason that they are able to try to break it again.

  4. Sure, and under the appropriations section, because the funds are earmarked, they can be spent.


    Austin didn’t break the law, the board did.

  5. “Does the County have any sort of written policy for vetting job applications?”:

    Response to my McHenry County FOIA request asking written protocols for hiring and posting jobs:

    Dear Ms. _______,

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

    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.

  6. Moderates over the top comments sound very much like Rosa Karl Zarecky.

  7. Typical.

    Moderate wants to insinuate something about a 90 day which has absolutely nothing to do with the issue.

    Typical Madigan / Alinsky / Progressive bs.

  8. Idk Cal, why don’t you read the constitution and then maybe you’ll find out.

  9. You are the one equating a State’s Attorney with a County Board Chairman.

  10. I’m not saying anything.

    The voters approved to have a county board chairman that has more statutory powers and why you dispute the chairman having two staff members when the States Attorney has 14 is bemusing.

  11. But you still have not provided the authorizing language, be it constitutional, as in the case of the State’s Attorney, or statutory, as with the County Board Chairman.

  12. What additional powers does a popularly elected County Board Chairman gain over a County Board Chairman that is elected by the membership?

    The Chairman’s main job is to preside over the meetings.

  13. The States Attorney does not answer to 24 Board members either but the Chairman is supposed to!

    The Board Chairman sets the Agenda with the advise and consent of the Board with Staff input.

    Then the Chairman runs the meeting.

    The round mound does not do either one well.

    He does text quite well though.

    He does lie quite well.

  14. Bully Bob, I see nowhere in the Constituation or State Law that grants a poupularly elected chair additional powers from a board elected chair.

    Only an executive chair is grated additional powers.

    Unless Moderate posts proof otherwise, he is merely trying to deceive as is Franks.

    Let Austin show the proof to board members as well.

  15. Moderate… Mr. Franks’ first attempt at growing another level of government was the referenda asking if the public wanted the “executive” form of government.

    This was resoundingly rejected!

    The misguided county board, attempting to get the jump on him putting their own referenda on the next ballot… (a low voter turn out election).

    Having done this, it left no one to explain what this meant.

    With the board having put the question on the ballot, they could not legally lobby or inform the voters prior to the vote.

    It went through.

    What you do not understand is that the 2nd referenda simply gave county voters the right / responsibility of directly electing a person to this position

    The chair under this scenario has less power than the chairman elected by the members.

    Actually, he really has less authority as the chair does not vote… he can only vote if the county board has a tie vote.

    Otherwise, he does as the county board directs him to do.

    Nothing more.

    The stink is that he believes himself commander and chief and is accountable only to himself.

  16. I guess what Moderate is trying to say is it’s ok for Jack to have two people working for him, at taxpayer expense, to do his job and rake in $82,000, also our tax dollars, for doing nothing.

    So why not have all of the board members hire people to help them?

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Jack figure out the hours that board members worked for IMRF and had that benefit taken away because they did not meet the rules?

    Looking like Jack wants all the benefits now and none of the rules.

    Did he not make a lot of laws that he wants to avoid now?

  17. Ersel,

    I have a question for you.

    In your time on the board, has the board ever resorted to the “nuclear option” of using a 2/3 vote to suspend rules for the purpose of temporarily removing the chair?

    I know that it’s permitted under Robert’s Rules, but I don’t know if there is a specific county board rule against it.

  18. A Representative form of government only works if those involved have honor, personal dignity and a personal code of conduct which puts service to The People first.

    Jack is none of these and has none of these. To expect this animal to be anything more than the garbage he has always been is just naive. ]

    He has proven, once again, if his actions are not explicitly illegal he will do anything to serve himself at the expense of anyone and everyone.

    Make his actions illegal.

    Make his actions legally actionable.

    Take legal action against him and then have a PAC put up billboards all over the county with a Jack Franks Expense Counter like the debt clock.

    You must defeat him politically and practically or forego any hope of recovering from the damage he has already wrought.

  19. I guess you will have to FOIA it then, Cal.

    Happy Saturday y’all.

  20. Hey Moderate!

    How do you condone a county board chairman costing the taxpayers over 3x as much as it would if Mike Walkup had won?

    Or 3x as much as we expected it to cost us?

    It’s so apparent that you want to make the McHenry County admin bldg your personal campaign office and Family Business by hiring friends & family.

  21. I’m with Priest.

    Too bad there are no honest upright attorneys with any moral fiber.

  22. Cindy,

    There are attorneys out there, you just need to know one.

  23. another?

    I have seen plenty and they are all crooks.

    (The whole system is totally crooked. Maritime law?)

    The only good one I have ever found was killed on a train trying to stop a robbery.

    Since you say they are out there; if you know one or two send them in.

  24. No, Billy Bob.

    In my 30+ years in and around county government there has never been a reason to even consider such action.

  25. Thank you for the answer, Ersel.

    I can actually imagine scenarios where such an extreme measure might be necessary with someone like Jack Franks.

  26. I just remembered, I think I have a conection to Doanld Franz.

    I believe it was his Mother that I used to sit with and thread needles for when her eyesight was failing.

  27. Re: Attorney

    Where is Mr. Kenneally?

    The following is from his website:

    “The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office is a public trust, it belongs to and is paid for by you the People. My job is to ensure that it is working on your behalf. It is further my job to uphold your confidence in our Office and the justice system. To do this, our daily goal is to be the most effective, ethical, and efficient state’s attorney’s office in the State.”

  28. Oliver Serafini instructing Jim Hurley to delay the release of an Invocation memo to the County Board until after the Board Meeting.


    From – Jim Hurley

    To – Oliver Serafini

    January 11, 2017 at 5:29PM

    “Thanks Oliver.

    Would the Chairman like for me to email the memo to the board prior to tomorrow’s meeting?


    From – Oliver Serafini

    To – Jim Hurley

    January 11, 2017 at 5:44PM

    Let’s do it right after so questions about the email don’t become a topic of discussion at the meeting.



    Where is the memo?

    The document is apparently “011317 Memo RE Invocation.docx”


    Jim Hurley is Assistant to the County Administrator / Public Information Officer


    Oliver Serafini is “Communications Specialist” to Jack Franks with split duties / funding with the County’s Division of Transportation.

    Oliver Serafini has “hired” before he completed the job application, as indicated in the second email document from Peter Austin to Oliver Serafini listed in above blog post.


    Oliver Serafini emailed the job application to Peter Austin on December 21 at 9:57PM.

    Peter Austin emailed the offer letter to Oliver Serafini on December 22 at 10:44AM.

    Oliver Serafini was hired by McHenry County 13 hours and 37 minutes after submitting the application, and all but a few of those hours were during non traditional working hours (night time).

    Peter Austin is the County Administrator.


    The position of “Communications Specialist” was never posted by the County Board.

  29. The second email in the post is a piece of supporting email evidence of the rubber stamp nature of the Oliver Serafini hire.

    The email consists of 3 sentences which essentially state:

    Sentence 1: Attached is the job application.

    Sentence 2: Please return it tomorrow morning.

    Sentence 3: I’ll get you an offer letter tomorrow morning.


    That is quite remarkable.

    The email basically states the applicant will receive an offer letter, before the employer has received the job application.

    No references checks required for the job application?

    No background check for the job application?

    No competition for the position?

    No posting for the position?

    County board didn’t even know the position existed?

    As noted in the previous comment, the offer letter was emailed 13 hours & 37 minutes after the employer received the job application:

    – Candidate emailed application at 9:57PM on December 21, 2016.

    – Employer emailed offer letter at 10:44AM on December 22, 2016.


    This would be a good case study for human resources classes.

    Feel free to send it to Human Resources professors at any college.

    Maybe the professors in Illinois would not be shocked.

    The professors outside Illinois will get a good laugh.

    Maybe a professor will make a caste study out of the saga.

    Crony state, crony county.


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