Term Limits Opinions from Two McHenry County State’s Attorneys

One of the issues on the fall ballot is a supposedly binding referendum to impose term limits on McHenry County Board members.

The County Board decided that the limits should not affect most of those on the Board now.

The starting date is not until 2022!

The length of time one will be allowed to remain on the County Board is twelve years…after 2022.

“Don’t do as I do, do as I say,” right?

When McHenry County officials asked McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi in 2012, here is the opinion when Donna Kelly wrote:

Below is the opinion offered by McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally’s assistant Scott Jacobson:



Term Limits Opinions from Two McHenry County State’s Attorneys — 7 Comments

  1. “Vote NO on the proposal of term limits for irrelevant bloggers”! This political ad was paid for by Citizens for God, a Political Action Committee which is not connected in any way to our McHenry County sunshine blogger. Stay tuned…6 days…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock…

  2. The question before the SA was different in 2012 than currently.

    The prior question was only related to County Board Chairman.

  3. However, both of the cases cited for the proposition that term limits can be imposed were Home Rule municipalities.

    It remains to be seen if the non Home Rule counties can do the same thing consistent with “Dillon’s Rule”.

  4. No Kirk. The issue in 2012 was whether or not the Board, by rule, could limit the term of the County Board Chairman.

    Since the Chairman was to be elected at large, the law would be the same as for County Board Members. Either way it’s an elective office.

    The difference now is that it is being done by referendum, which is a procedure referenced in the state constitution.

    However, there is still the question of whether or not the intervening court decisions that involved Home Rule municipalities, applies to non home rule units of government. Home Rule units can do pretty much whatever they want. Non Home Rule units can only do what a state statute says they can do.d

  5. No problem.

    We’ll just have a few hundred thousand of legal fees to litigate this to find out.

    It’ll probably cost less than the Algonquin Township Highway Department spent on their attorney last year and will yield exactly the same value to the citizenry

  6. The first question was ONLY for county board chair, the second question was for both Chairman and County Board. Regardless, the Constitution applies and it is very clear.

  7. No Kirk, that is not the distinction.

    When the Board Chairman became a directly elected office rather than one appointed by the other Board Members, it became subject to the same rules as other elected offices. Previously that had not been the case.

    These rules apply equally to both the Chairman position and Board and other positions.

    The Ames decisions cited did not address the constitutionality of term limits, but relied on the Circuit Court’s assumption that they were permissible.

    Instead, the decisions discussed only the language of the referenda and whether or not it was vague in terms of how the term limits would be calculated based on previously held terms of office.

    It was also mentioned that the units of government involved were Home Rule units.

    So the real question is whether or this can apply to non Home Rule units of government, such as McHenry County.

    That has not been squarely addressed thus far.

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