County Human Resources Committee Arises from the Dead and Talks about Jack Franks’ Patronage Hires

Written by former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster:

County Board Members Find Their Spine

Kudos’ to the re-established County Board Human Resources Committee (HR) members.

At the most recent HR meeting most members spoke to the elephant in the room!

While not on the agenda so action could be take, they actually addressed the illegal hiring of 2 people by the country chairman.

Although this was not planned by staff or committee chairman, committee members, along with Member Wheeler, had a discussion on the issue in open session.

The HR committee was the place to begin the discussion; however, due to circumstance beyond their control at the time… it is a little like trying to shut the door after the horse was on its way down the road.

Of special interest is the fact that the issue was planned to be on a joint committee meeting (Finance and HR) on March 8th for discussion/action.

Keep in mind, this was choreographed to get the issue before a “chairman-friendly” committee to ensure these 2 employees would be accepted into the fold, legitimize, and shut down the questions.

Once again, they have the cart before the horse.

Technically, changes to the definition of interaction between the county board and the chairman need to start with the Internal Support & Facilities (ISF) Committee.

When the county board approved the second referenda asking the public if they wanted to elect the chairman at large; those board members believed the relationship between the chair elected at large and the county board would be based on prior interaction as it had been for decades.

The one difference would be that according to statute this chairman would have no voting rights except that he breaks a tie in the event the county board had a 12 – 12 tie vote.

From all appearances, and during subsequent discussion regarding this new position, the board defaulted to that position and made no further recommendations regarding internal interaction between the 2 offices.

What we do know is that the County Board Rules make no allowance for additional employees, expenses or duties… nor were additional funds earmarked for anything more than what the chairman had spent.

So now we have the board, without reverting to the actual duties of this position, attempting to white-wash an illegal action.

All this could have been completely avoided had the elected chairman, Jack Franks, upon entering office had done so with a little humility and willingness to honor the relationship between the 2 offices by giving himself… say 6 months to settle in and work within the structure.

When “elected office holders” assume the gate is wide open for them to deliberately mis-interpret established rules, re-write the rules he doesn’t like, and bully his way into furthering a personal agenda… only the taxpayers lose!

County board members, your actions on this issue are important.

You, and only you, are the check and balance between county government running amuck… and the folks you represent.


County Human Resources Committee Arises from the Dead and Talks about Jack Franks’ Patronage Hires — 44 Comments

  1. Ersel,

    Technically you are wrong.

    The IS committee does not have explicit authority.

    Precedent is precedent until it is no longer precedent.

    You also miss, in your evaluation, you removed the chairman’s budget before Franks took office in an explicitly political move.

    All this could have been completely avoided had the elected board, upon Franks entering office, maintained precedent with a little humility and willingness to honor the relationship between the 2 offices by giving FRanks… say 6 months to settle in and work within the structure.

  2. Moderate is still an idiot.

    Strawman arguments.

    Did you read the piece?

    No clue what she is talking about?

  3. Moderate the Jack Franks lackey apparently doesn’t know or understand the definition of precedent.

  4. The board not only removed the budget, they also didn’t give a budget, which is illegal.

    Every other countywide elected official was given a budget.

    Franks was not.

    They broke the law.

    Additionally, the board has no oversight over the two hires JUST like they had no oversight over Mary McClellans’s hire of her husband, or Prim’s of women beater Matt McNamara, or of Keneally’s hires – a staff of over 10 people!

    The board will not recognize the fact that the office of the Chairman is a countywide, elected officer and not a member of the board.

    They have broken the law and have subject the citizenry to a huge potential legal liability.

  5. I wonder if now that Jack Franks has a vote on the board when there are ties, if that makes him a member of the board.

  6. There is NO Doubt these positions Should Immediately Be Posted to the Public for applications ! for hiring.

    The current intended can re-submit their applications like everyone else will do and follow the RULES for hiring practices.

    Thru the Front Door!

  7. Where is it documented the budget for the County Board Chair was removed…

    Moderate says this over and over that Cal, Ersel, Mark said it was removed…

    where is it documented the budget for the County Board Chair was removed?

    Where is the budget of the previous County Board Chair, Joe Gottemoller.

    Where is it documented that Jack Franks asked the County Board for a budget?

    Where is the law stating a County Board must give an elected County Board Chair a budget for the County Board Chair position, over and above a county board budget.

  8. Does Mike Pense having a vote to break ties make him part of the Senate?

    No Cal it doesn’t.

  9. What Cal’s comment also implicitly states is Franks isn’t part of the board, therefore has purview to conduct his own hires just like every other countywide elected official. It does not dismiss that the board did away with the chairman’s budget in a purely partisan move.

    Additionally, what’s curious is Ersel has championed oversight of hiring from both the IS and now HR committees. This indicates that she is not out to protect precedent as she asserts above. No, Ersel is a partisan first and looking out for county interests second. If her intention was to protect precedent and procedure, then she would consistently assert the oversight of one committee, NOT BOTH!

    Getting her or Cal to answer the question, “Did the county chairman prior to Franks taking office have a budget or did he not,” is like trying to nail jello to a wall.

  10. I’m not sure it is clear which committee should be the oversight for the hirings.

    Normally it would be HR, but since HR had absolutely no hand in the hirings, (Peter Austin signed the paperwork in the spot designated for HR.) I would think the IS Committee would have a valid argument for being a part of the process as well. The Board can set a new precedent; since so Chair has never done patronage hirings before. And should never in the future.

  11. Hey Moderate,
    We’re still waiting on the proof of Tirio’s patronage hire. And proof the Chair previously had a budget. And proof that the Chair has the same “power” as other countywide elected officials.

  12. Leery,
    We call what you are doing the “burden of proof” fallacy. The fact you are ignorant doesn’t excuse the validity of my argument. File a FOIA if you are so skeptical.

  13. Pence having a vote and the county board chair having a vote is apples and oranges.

    Pence doesn’t run the House nor the Senate Meetings.

    Pence doesn’t make the agenda.

    Federal, State and Local laws, ordinances and jurisdictions are all different so don’t compare them.

    Secondly both Peter Austin and Jack Franks have their name on the hirings.

    So they both are subject to any ill hirings.

    As far as a budget if there is a State Statue that says that the County Board must designate a budget for the County Board Chairman then I would like to see Moderate produce that.

    Just because another county chooses to do it doesn’t mean McHenry County must.

    And being that the County has never had any staff for the County Board Chairman position why does it need to start now and spend more tax payer money senselessly?

    I am the other one.

    I have used that handle for about two years now.

  15. I’m sorry Questioning,

    I’m going to need to see some proof for your assertion that the county has never provided a budget for the board before I believe you.

    Maybe you can find evidence supporting your claim?

    And can you find evidence to support your claim that it’s not illegal for the board to have defunded the board chairman’s budget?

    And can you find evidence supporting your claim that other counties have a budget for their chairs?

    And can you find evidence that the analogy between Franks and Pense isn’t apples and oranges?

    And can you provide evidence that Franks and Austin are in the hook for ill hirings?

    And can you provide evidence for why you don’t sound just as obnoxious as all the questions I’ve posted above?

  16. Liars figure, and figures lie.

    Yes it’s an old saying, but they don’t call him lyingjackfranks ( nothing.

    Just what the hell were you expecting anyway?

    Go the website.

    Know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

  17. @Moderate

    Can you provide proof to any of your questions?

    Let me know.

    Sorry questioning I will go by questions.

    New. And I gave you the reason Moderate.

    Pence is Vice President he doesn’t run the meetings, set agendas, etc..

    Ignorance is bliss Moderate and you seem to have enough of it.

    Talk to one of your County Board Members.

    There was a letter signed by both Austin and Franks about the hirings.

    I don’t care if other counties have a budget or not.

    McHenry County doesn’t have personal designated for the County Board Chair position.

    Gottemoeller, Hill, Tyron, Koehler etc.. never had their own assistant or communication specialist so why does that position warrant one now?

    Because he won a county race.

    So what!

    The County Board Chair is not the same as the Recorder, Clerk, Treasurer etc.

    If the Board has to give that position a budget then find me the State Statue if not then they don’t need to worry about it.

    Other elected officials have budgets to run the dept. they were elected.

    The County Chairs dept. such as P/D, HR, MCDOT etc. already has a budget that is passed by the whole County Board so that position does not need a budget.

    Apples and oranges again.

    So unless you want to file a law suit yourself against the County Board for illegally defunding the Chairmans position well I guess it isn’t illegal.

  18. What preposterous argument:

    Me not wanting to file a lawsuit isn’t proof that there didn’t used to be a budget.

    IN FACT, Cal Skinner and Ersel herself both confirmed there used a be a budget.

    Ersel just failed to say that in her post and I was reaffirming the TRUTH.

  19. Rules about hiring, and creating new positions or reclassified old positions can be found in the salary administration policy:


    I. Purpose
    The purpose of the Salary Administration Policy document is to state McHenry County’s
    compensation processes and procedures that have been established to ensure that the policy is
    administered fairly and consistently.

    II. Statement of Policy
    It is the policy of McHenry County to establish and maintain competitive salary ranges consistent
    with the economic/budgetary requirements of the County which will allow the County to effectively
    compete for qualified personnel, retain productive employees, and ensure that salaries are
    equitable and commensurate with the duties performed by each employee. This policy is
    implemented through the following sections:

    A. Position Analysis
    For each position, the appropriate Position Analysis form will be completed describing all the
    pertinent factors relating to the position. The department head must sign the form and submit
    it to the Human Resources Department, where it will be evaluated using the McHenry County
    Job Classification System. The Human Resources Director will notify the department head of
    the final rating.

    B. Position Descriptions

    1. Position descriptions shall be maintained by the Human Resources Department for all
    positions (full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary). Position descriptions will be
    developed by the Human Resources Department, in consultation with the Department
    Head, from the completed Position Analysis form.

    2. Position descriptions will contain a summary description of the position and essential
    duties performed by incumbents, as well as list the knowledge, skills, and abilities an
    employee should have in order to succeed in the position. Examples of duties listed in
    the position description are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work
    performed. The omission of specific duties does not exclude them from the position if the
    work is similarly related or a logical assignment to the position.

    3. The position description does not constitute an employment agreement between the
    County and the employee and is subject to change as the needs of the County and the
    requirements of the position change.

    C. New Positions

    1. A Position Analysis Form must be completed and a position description developed for
    any new position (not already contained in the current Job Classification System).

    2. The completed Position Analysis must be submitted to the Human Resources
    Department. The information provided will be applied to the established McHenry County
    Job Evaluation System to determine the appropriate classification of the position. When
    necessary, the consultants will be utilized to assist in determining the appropriate
    classification of the position.

    3. All new positions should be planned for and submitted to the Human Resources Director
    and the Associate County Administrator of Finance during the budget process. Priority
    will be given to requests presented in the context of a reorganization that enhances
    customer service and/or reduces the cost of doing business. Mid-year requests for new
    positions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and must be approved by the
    Page 60
    Susan on 02/17/2017 at 9:50 am said:
    Liaison Committee, the Human Resources Committee, the Finance and Audit Committee
    and the County Board.
    New position and reclassification requests submitted during the budget process must be
    position specific to be considered for funding. If funding is approved during the budget
    process and the department wishes to use the funding for positions other than the
    approved position, a resolution authorizing the change will be required by the County
    Board prior to the change taking place.

    4. Sections C-1 and C-2 must be completed before any new or reclassified positions can be
    presented to the appropriate board committees and County Board for approval.

    D. Position Evaluation: Classification System
    The County maintains a job classification system (Resolution R-200802-12-058) which
    contains an inventory of jobs, designated by title, within the various classifications existing at
    the County. The Classification System consists of a grouping of similar positions into
    categories of substantially similar complexity and responsibility and general qualifications. All
    positions will be evaluated and classified in order of their relative value, utilizing the approved
    evaluation techniques of the McHenry County Job Classification System.

    E. Salary Structure
    The County is committed to maintaining a salary structure, consisting of position grades and
    salary ranges that will allow the County to effectively compete for qualified personnel and to
    ensure that salaries/wages are equitable and commensurate with the duties performed by

    1. Salary Ranges –
    All position grades will have a salary/wage range that indicates their minimum,
    midpoint, and maximum monetary value. Salary ranges should be broad enough to
    provide salary/wage growth for competent personnel.

    2. Maintenance –
    Salary Ranges will be reviewed from a competitive standpoint based on prevailing
    trends (salary survey data and economic indicators) and the County’s ability to pay
    on an annual basis by the Director of Human Resources. Appropriate changes will
    be recommended by County Administration and approved by the County Board.

    3. Starting Salaries –
    All new employees will normally be paid the minimum rate in the appropriate salary
    range. However, the County recognizes that department heads may need flexibility
    during the hiring process to recruit qualified candidates. The recognition of
    extraordinary experience or qualifications, labor market demands, or other
    qualifications of the candidate may justify a higher rate of pay, subject to the following
    Hiring Range Approval
    Minimum of Salary Range Department Head
    Minimum to 1st Quartile Dept. Head & Dir of Human Resources
    1st Quartile to Midpoint County Administrator
    Over Midpoint County Board
    In no event shall the salary offered exceed the salary range of the grade.
    Page 61
    Susan on 02/17/2017 at 9:51 am said:

    4. Vacant Positions
    If a position becomes vacant, steps must be taken to fill it within 90 days.
    Failure to take the appropriate steps to fill the position within 90 days will result in the
    position being eliminated. If a department has difficulties filling a vacant position, a
    request for an extension can be granted by the Director of Human Resources.
    Budget is allocated based on position, and not the employee in the position. If
    budget savings from an unfilled position occurs and is used in any other manner
    without board approval, the unfilled position will cease to exist and will need to be re-
    established as a new position in the next budget process.

    5. Promotions

    a. A promotion is considered movement into a job classification that is at least one
    (1) salary grade higher than the employees’ current position.

    b. At the time of promotion, an employee is normally eligible for a salary adjustment
    based upon the following considerations:
     The employees’ performance history;
     The amount of additional responsibility, including education and
    training required for the new position;
     The location of the employees’ current salary in the new salary
     Internal equity;
     Departmental budgetary constraints.

    c. A completed performance appraisal will be required anytime an employee is

    d. A promotion normally results in a salary increase not to exceed 6% of the
    employees’ current salary. If the minimum of the new salary range is higher than
    the proposed promotional increase, the employee shall be moved to the new
    minimum of the salary range. In no case can the increase exceed the budgeted
    amount of the position the employee is being promoted into without approval of
    the County Board.

    e. For departmental promotions within the same grade, due to increased
    responsibilities and job duties, the normal salary increase will be 3% but not
    greater than 6% of the employee’s current salary. In no case can the increase
    exceed the budgeted amount of the position without approval of the County

    f. In the event the promotion is into a position that is two grades or more above the
    employee’s current position, salary will be determined by the department head,
    the Director of Human Resources and the County Administrator.

    g. For internal promotions into a salary grade 15 or higher, the annual salary
    amount (not to exceed the budget for the position) will be determined by the
    department head, Director of Human Resources and the County Administrator.

    h. In the rare event labor market conditions warrant considering internal equity for
    an internal promotion into a professional position (Grade 10E to 14E), the annual
    salary may be allowed over the normal increase as set forth in Section 5C, but
    Page 62

  20. It seems there were no extensions granted for 90 day old vacancies (which were then reclassified)


    there seems to have been no Position Analysis Form submitted to the HR department.

  21. Someone should FOIA the County Administrators office and request the County Board Chairmans budget for the last 10 years.

    Time to put this stupidity to rest.

    Guarentee it will be denied because it doesn’t exist or you’ll get the County Board budgets.

  22. The FOIA requests are adding up against Austin and Franks.

    Ollie and Bridge better start pandering to the DNC for their old jobs.

    I think it’s time for an update to that website Wizard.

  23. Well done, Susan.

    Moderate… please get your thought together before plundering in.

    Many of us have repeatedly asked that tell us where we’ve made any reference to “a budget for the county board chair.”

    There are expenses allowed for approved

  24. I don’t remember weighing in on whether the chairman had a budget in the past.

    Would you help me refresh my memory by sending whatever link you are referencing?

  25. Ersel,

    I’ve been very thoughtful.

    You and Cal in the same thread both agreed that there was a Chairman budget.

    You defunded the chairman budget.

  26. Whether or not a department head has a hiring budget,
    the Salary Administration Policy needs to be followed, no?

  27. “We are too much accustomed to attribute to a single cause that which is the product of several, and the majority of our controversies come from that.”

    Marcus Aurelius

    Let me be counted among those who would argue that were it not for disunity of the 24, the actions of the one would be quickly as if it never occurred.

    This my friends is why we have primaries.

  28. In recent conflict with School Board, I discovered that there is no enforcement mechanism for State Statutes and rules established by lesser included jurisdictions.

    Question: who has jurisdiction to enforce Rules of a municipality or County of the Members of that Board ‘go rogue’, and refuse to abide by the Rules of their governing body?

    and, having determined whether rules have been disregarded, what is the remediation mechanism for damages caused to citizens?

  29. Laws are designed by Lawyers to make money for lawyers.

    The lawyers who cannot become millionaires at the expense of others become judges.

  30. what I’m trying to get at is, what recourse do we citizens (taxpayers) have for actions or in-actions of our governing bodies which cost us money (damages)?

    If we refuse to pay taxes under protest, the recourse is clear for the ‘other side’…our property title is seized.

  31. if we can define that recourse, there may be a way to ‘right the worng’ ourselves.

    what about small claims court?

    if each homeowner can quantify the amount of improper tax liability, can we each file a small claim against County?

  32. @Moderate LOL seriously that is your argument is preposterous argument!

    Moderate your lack of knowledge shows everything!

    I could care less if you file a law suit your argument doesn’t hold water!

  33. Susan, you’ve asked another great question.

    If the political governing body violates their own rules there a several possible consequences.

    The others within the body censure the offender.

    The offender(s) may be removed politically by an astute observer with political fortitude.

    You may go the the local SA’s office, as they represent The People, and ask if an act by a governing body is criminally actionable.

    Consult an attorney about civil action should you have a reasonable belief there are actual damages from a political body’s breach of their rules.

    Unfortunately, if the breach has no damages or is merely an ethical breach you are unlikely to find legal satisfaction.

    There are oh so many ways to pillory a politician who crosses The People you may choose this very satisfying path to crushing awful behavior.

  34. Would like to see the result of a foia request for Joe Gottemoller’s budget as County Board Chair.

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