Consolidating Power – Part 1

Former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster reflects on the Rules changes passed by the McHenry County Board Tuesday night:

And the Answer is… Dictatorship

Since my last post the following question was asked:

“What proposed McHenry County Board Rules changes are cause for concern?”

First and foremost, understand that change is not to be considered a bad concept.

Simply put, it is the rationale for, and unintended consequences of these changes that begs our

Jack Franks

At the outset of the 12/4/18 AD HOC Committee meeting on the Rules changes, Chairman Jack  Franks stated:

“As you know, I sent out, 2 weeks ago, the proposed board rules changes.”

He went on to state that… “my reason for the consolidation is simple… greater efficiency for the county board… decreased by 25%…and also, cost savings.”

“This proposal has so many advantages…

  1. “First is fewer trips to the county, which is a savings to you. It increases the productivity among our department heads because they have less time sitting before committees… board meetings as well.
  2. “It increases the productivity among our department heads because they have less time
    sitting before committees… board meetings as well.
  3. “And third, and most important, it increases our efficiency.”

Not one member challenged one word in these statements.

Most important is that a county administration that crows about their openness and transparency, has once again neglected to make any documentation available to the public for this meeting.

Most generally, information is not even provided committee members until the meeting.

This emphasizes a pattern of contempt and disrespect for the committee members, and the public.

A thumbnail sketch of how and why McHenry County has consistently been ranked at the top of
financially sound Illinois counties can be linked to its method of operation.

This operation has operated as twenty-four McHenry County Board members overseeing 29 specific
departments, agencies and all the intricate elements making up county government.

These elected officials are our eyes, ears, and ultimately our control mechanism over annual budgets in excess of $200,000,000 in tax dollars.

Included has been

  • a structure consisting of 12 committees; most committees included 7 members;
  • most members were assigned to 3-4 standing committees;
  • most committees met twice a month; individual members also act as appointed liaison to various outside agencies; and,
  • all the oversight throughout this process culminated in 2 voting county board meetings per month.

The size of this job cannot be understated. County board members are responsible for defending us,
those funding this government, against any one individual, staff member or any number of bureaucrats.

Two years ago, this structure began changing in a systematic way.

Used as the tool to make these changes is the Rule under SECTION 4 – “AD HOC COMMITTEES.”

It states:

“The Chairman of the County Board shall have the power to establish ad hoc committees for special projects. Such committee will exist for the life of the project.”

The clause “special projects” is deliberately being disregarded as the standing committees, tasked with the issues, are ignored. Members Yvonne Barnes, Michael Rein, Chuck Wheeler, Craig Wilcox and a few others did their best to identify this misinterpretation… but to no avail.

No longer do we have enough members who grasp what has been happening, much less willing to stand up for the process.

Beginning in December 2016, a series of AD HOC Committees have been called.

The highly questionable interpretation of that simple RULES statement is being deliberately bastardized by one person, allowing wholesale changes to the county board’s business, purpose, and members responsibilities to the public.

Thus far, a few changes to board “Rules,” “Policies,” and manner of doing business… have been exposed to the public and include:

  • Without board direction or knowledge, the chairman began “closed-door meetings” with county
    employees. Board members and department heads were excluded from the meetings;
  • County board voting meetings have been reduced to 1 per month;
  • County board standing committees were reduced from 12 to 8;
  • Standing committee meetings were reduced from 2 meetings monthly to 1;
  • Issuing “legal opinion” from the podium;
  • Initiated via the AD HOC committee process, without voter knowledge or vote, the number of
    county board members is being reduced from 24 to 18 members;
  • Beginning 12/11/18, members’ workload is consolidated into 6 committees that meet once a
  • Members are openly threatened with lawsuits when they challenge or question the process.

The message, and the unintended consequences to taxpayers’ is that such actions are methodically
being ratcheted up.

The intended plan is consolidation of control, by one person, over the operation.

Today, the move is from 24 to 18 county board members; reducing the standing committees from 12 to 6; and, reducing all meetings to once a month.

Listening to the 12/4/18 AD HOC Committee meeting it is disappointing to realize that the majority of those people never questioned how one committee meeting a month could possibly provide the insight necessary for them to have a clue what is actually going on inside county government.

Far too many of these same elected officials get snarky if a meeting happens to exceed an hour of their time.

Another insult to taxpayers is that not one person, during the meeting suggested that… all salaries
should be cut in half to match the newly approved structure.

Nor did anyone suggest elimination of the expensive health insurance we are expected to subsidize for them.

While all this may seem benign to some, the unfortunate part is that a next step/goal is to reduce the
size of the county board to 6, single member districts.

A six-member board is much easier for one power-hungry person to control the entire operation.

If we think that annual salaries of $20,000+ and health insurance that can amount to nearly $30,000  [and more] is expensive, wait until fewer members [down to 18 in 2022] whine about putting in more time so they need salaries and benefits in the 6-digit range.

Unforeseen by most county board members is the evolution of events leading to a form of dictatorship as the chairman

  • concocts his plans in the backrooms;
  • calls for an AD HOC Committee meeting;
  • chooses those committee members who will deliver the desired changes;
  • brings those results to the full board famously claiming: I am so proud of the members as I have talked to most and they are in agreement with the proposal.

The pattern of events playing out since Dec. 2016 is the issue.

Like the steady drip of a leaky faucet, following the administrative, structural and Rules changes over this period provides a clear picture of the consolidation of control over McHenry County government.


Consolidating Power – Part 1 — 21 Comments

  1. The people of McHenry County lost they just haven’t realized it yet.

  2. Regarding Rule from Section 4 which states:

    “The Chairman of the County Board shall have the power to establish ad hoc committees for special projects. Such committee will exist for the life of the project.”

    What was the date that this Rule was established?

    What is the definition of so-called “special projects” and what are the guidelines when an ad hoc committee can be formed or established?

    Since there are already “standing committees”, then any issue that comes to the fore should logically be FIRST be reviewed to determine if one or more of the standing committees can take it on. There should NOT be very many, if any, needs for ad hoc committees.

  3. Ersel your like chicken little.

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

    People are tired of you and your constance complaining.

    You didn’t win and it wasn’t even close.

    The local Gop will continue its death roll as long as you are considered one of its leaders.

  4. I don’t think that Ersel really understands how to run an effective organization. It’s abundantly clear she does not have leadership experience in the private sector because one of the single greatest ways to drive efficiencies in the private sector is not to solve problems with people and following the principle that work fits to accomodate the time allotted.

    Ersel wants more units of county government leading to more work time allowed leading to less efficient government and costing taxpayers more. But her adherence to the past is what she knows and she’s comfortable with. Change is understandably hard for a geriatric mind. Fortunately, voters will realize that the more bureaucratic format of government that Ersel wants is what party management by one party in McHenry county over 50 years managed. But of course it MUST be the DEMOCRATS fault for all problems in McHenry County?!?!

    And, lets be really frank, Ersel’s charachterization of centralization of organizational structure to a dictatorship is hyperbolic partisan hackery from a failed candidate who voters did not elect. Yet, for some reason Cal posts her notes from class as if annoit Ersel “QAueen Regent of the Misfit Political Candidates” including Orville Brettman, John Hammerand among others.

  5. @Fierabras – Why do you care? YOU LIVE IN LAKE COUNTY!!!!

    Everyone KNOWS you are Jack Shaefer or one of his minions.

  6. Ersel speaks of trying to salvage any glimpse of actual representation and rules that provide any protection and hope for the tax paying people. Plain and simple.

    If you attend these meetings, you would know Ersel is spot on.
    Post swearing in, the “structure” is set for committees and chairs: aka you owe me, I owe you, scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Having attended a couple of those “special hand-picked committee’s” meetings it was sadly, very eye opening. Lays out the “rules” and how it’s going to go to the newbies, too.

    By the time anything gets to the board level, it’s all a done deal…yes deal after deal or order after order, with today’s matrix.

    It has become a dictatorship with a fellow ex-Springfield player onboard.
    Voters why? Oh yeah, money speaks louder than the truth.

    How’s that hit piece case crawling through court going?

    No, I am not Ersel. Just an overtaxed, raked over, under-represented citizen of McHenry County.

  7. Spit-lite should talk about ‘minions’ as he’s a Franks’ minion, Class A

  8. Also, where’s the blog post about Lawrence stepping down? Good for her.

  9. I love when conservatives call for bigger government. Its cute.

  10. And bred: The terms are not further defined in the Rules, which is the problem.

    Past Chairmen were elected by the Board so they had to behave themselves to continue to be supported and didn’t try blatant power grabs.

    A directly elected Chairman does not answer to the Board, only to the “voters” so he/she can dump on the Board all they want so long as they think the voters won’t notice or won’t care.

  11. That was the problem from the start. He slid into office by portraying himself to be for McHenry County at the state level.

    He did some good, so I won’t take that from him.

    He buffaloed a lot of people and they just didn’t see it.

    You got what you ask for.

    I didn’t vote for him,because I saw through his game.

  12. It’s amazing how the left ALWAYS attacks the individual.

    It’s a tactic to deflect the real issue and that is the MADIGAN Machine has invaded McHenry County.

    A real quick way to save a whole lot of money and that is to clean out the nepotism in the Government office.

    My goodness, the salaries for clerks plus the entitlements.

    Geez if a DNA test were done would lead back to five names in the County.

    Ersel is a very smart person and I would put anyone commenting up against her knowledge of County Government any day of the week.

    I guess the Jack Franks minions are waiting their turn for a county job because that’s the MADIGAN way of doing business.

    just wish we could make you to pay for our taxes given how your leader has screwed the Illinois taxpayer for decades now.

  13. Ersel, where are you getting the idea that the plan to reduce the board’s size to 18 (in 2022) is a plot to reduce it down to 6?

    Have there been any comments from elected officials proposing that?

  14. Any issue referred to a created made up so-called “ad hoc” committee in Mc Henry County MUST have an explanation and legal reason WHY the issue cannot be handled by any existing committee. The “reason” to refer to an ad hoc committee must be able to pass muster in a court of law. The person wanting to establish an ad hoc committee must be able to explain to a judge why an existing committee cannot take on the issue.

  15. It’s obvious that goofballs, retards, left wingers attack the content of Ersel’s comments.

    You know who you are.

    Get a life.

  16. Bred: The courts have no jurisdiction over interpretation of Board rules.

    The Board has to enforce its own rules by not voting to affirm those things.

    They are not doing that.

  17. Ersel Schuster nails it again, and we were warned.

    All of Jack Franks actions are self-serving.

    He only promotes his own power.

    The only thing accurate about spotlight’s rant is her first 3 words.

    You really don’t think sweetie, and what is a “charachterization”?

  18. Ah, Murmuring Mutton (Erse, or should we call you Bahktu?) prove one thing, that you can spot a misspelled word.

    Good for you.

    Snarky board members?

    What a brilliant observation!

    Keep’em coming. Shows your keen intellect.

    We stand in awe!

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