McSweeney Introduces Bill to Give Jack Franks Tremendously More Power, Abolish Independently-Elected Auditor’s Office, Power of County Board Pretty Much Disappears

This article was published late Friday. I am putting it back on top because it represents the most audacious grab for virtually absolute power in county government that I can imagine. He could only make himself more powerful by having all countywide elected officials report to him directly and abolishing the County Board.

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McHenry County, from a structural viewpoint, has a weak County Board Chairman.

Under House Bill 3317, sponsored by State Rep. David McSweeney, that would change drastically.

Jack Franks would become the most powerful County Board Chairman outside of Cook County.

Here is how the Legislative Reference Bureau, the legislature’s bill drafting agency summarizes the proposal:

Creates the McHenry County Equitable Standards and Governmental Efficiency Law in the Counties Code.

    • Allows the county board to require the election of specified special district trustees that it appoints. [Seems to apply to Conservation District, Mental Health Board, TB Board, Board of Health, Fire Protection District]
    • Allows the county board chairperson to:

      McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks seeks legislative authority to be in pretty much complete control.

      • eliminate advisory committees or commissions;
      • create standing committees and appoint members;
      • set county board or committee meeting agendas;
      • have line-item veto powers; and
      • hire independent legal counsel or a parliamentarian or both;
      • approve all appropriation expenditures before they are paid;
      • reduce or divert moneys from a county fund with assets exceeding 150% of the previous year’s expenditures on a ratable basis to taxpayers.
    • Allows the county board to appoint an inspector general to investigate waste, fraud, and abuse.
    • Provides that, on the effective date of the amendatory Act, the elected chairperson of the county board is a county office distinct from the county board.
    • Terminates the office of county recorder and the office of the county auditor.

    Amends the Local Government Reduction and Efficiency Division of the Counties Code.

    Provides that a county board may prohibit or limit a unit of local government that it has proposed to consolidate from starting a capital program, building project, or land acquisition for a set period of time, not to exceed 2 years, while the county board pursues possible consolidation.

    Effective immediately.

Not in the summary above are proposed requirements that

  • the Chairman may reduce or line item any appropriation [same power the Governor has]
  • the County Board may not reduce the powers of the County Board Chairman except by a three-fourths vote
  • the Chairman will have a line item veto which can only be overridden by a three-fifths vote of the County Board
  • the Chairman may hire his own legal counsel and/or parliamentarian to be financed by county funds, such county funds to be obtained from elsewhere in the budget at the Chairmen’s discretion
  • the office of Chairman is given equal status with other officials elected countywide
  • the County Board shall provide adequate funding for the chairperson to have the resources and staff required to fulfill his or her duties.
  • the County Board may not reclassify employees in the chairperson’s office or transfer employees out of the chairperson’s office without the chairperson’s permission
  • health insurance for County Board members is abolished and the amount saved can be transferred to the Chairman’s budget
  • Chairman has to approve all county expenditures [now a function of the independentally elected County Auditor]
  • ratable tax rebates allowed at the Chairman’s discretion from any fund that has more than 150% of what was spent the year before


McSweeney Introduces Bill to Give Jack Franks Tremendously More Power, Abolish Independently-Elected Auditor’s Office, Power of County Board Pretty Much Disappears — 34 Comments

  1. Obviously concerned about a Democrat challenger or Republican challenger who has actually lowered taxes in his municipality in the next election.

    Beware of politicians who covet their political office more than principles they espoused.

    Their is an acronym for this, “ RINO”.

  2. McSweeney still blowing’ Franks?

    Or did he have to bend over and take it in the behind for this 2nd or 3rd attempt to make Franks King?

    This ugly bro-mance has to end!

    Better yet McSweeney’s political career has to end!

  3. Why have a County Board because it renders itself useless!

    County Board should rise up and put on next years ballot to eliminate the County Board Chairman position altogether.

    Have the County Administrator be the servant to the Board.

    County Board meetings will be run by a County Board Liason person voted on by the County Board.

    Committee agendas will be put forth by committee chair.

    If majority of committee wants item on agendas then will be on following meetings agenda.

    Time for the County Board to grow a set and figure out a way to get rid of Jack Franks power once and for all.

  4. For years it was suspected that a ‘deal’ was struck between Franks and the GOP in McHenry County.

    The deal: Don’t run anyone against me and I won’t run anyone against you.

    Then we had the Tea Party start to meddle in County politics followed by the Trump election.

    Since then Tryon has retired, Wheeler did not run this go round, McConnaughay resigned, and Franks could see the writing on the wall so he decided to go after the County Board seat.

    That brings us to the past election.

    No Dem opposition for McSweeney, Skillicorn, Reick.

    Was a deal struck?

    Is the McSweeney ‘suck up to Jack’ payback?

    BTW it appears Skillicorn is supporting McSweeney’s ‘suck up’.

    The only remaining wild card is Reick and he is being quiet as far as I know.

    Although McSweeney has self funded a large part of his campaigns, you could get his attention by contacting Richard Uilhine who has to date funded his campaigns $182,000 and the Roesers (Otto Engineering) $165,000.

    Other names that pop up as contributing to McSweeney: Aaron Schock; Bill LeFew; Bob Miller; Dan Cronin; the Realtors PAC to the tune of $29,000; Irene Napier;

  5. We would no longer have an Auditor, or Recorder, and the County Board members and States Atty would be rendered powerless.

    This county govt would be Franks nepotistic & patronage paradise with no oversight on him!

    Bend over!

    Taxpayers of Mchenry County, you are about to be screwed!

    You can thank McSweeney for crawling into bed with evil incarnate!

  6. As you read this post, ask yourself: Franks ran as a ‘delegate’ for Hilary Clinton; ties have been established between El Chapo and the Clinton Foundation; did any of the drug cartel money make its way into the Franks’ banks?

    What has McSweeny been promised?

  7. Although a portion of his district is in McHenry County, Republican State Representative Dave McSweeney resides in Lake County.

    He pays property taxes to Lake County, not McHenry County.

    No state legislator should sponsor legislation to give more power to the McHenry County Board Chair.

    But at the very least, it should be a state legislator residing in McHenry County.

    Will write another post about why this is a bad idea.

  8. Eight Franks stories in a row…can’t we get back to Hillary’s emails?

  9. Yet another overview of Jack Franks to put this legislation into context.

    March 17, 1998 – Jack Franks wins first his election.

    It’s the Democrat primary for 63rd District State Representative.

    There is some intrigue.

    A Jack Franks in-law relative failed in her attempt to get the other two Democrats kicked off the ballot.

    In the heat of the battle to win the upcoming general election, Jack Franks makes some promises.

    September 20, 1998 edition of the Northwest Herald – “In his speech, Franks pledged to hold himself to three terms in the Illinois House.”

    November 4, 1998 edition of the Northwest Herald – “Franks, a political newcomer, has said he plans to serve only three terms if elected.”

    November 3, 1998 – Jack Franks wins his first political office as State Representative, narrowly defeating Republican Mike Brown.

    January, 1999 – Jack Franks is sworn into office.

    Jack Franks votes in favor of Democrat Michael Madigan for the position of House Speaker.

    Jack Franks repeats this vote every 2 years through 2014.

    Note, State Reps are elected every 2 years resulting in a new General Assembly every 2 years.

    November 6, 2012 – Jack Franks promotes the voter elected County Executive Referendum.

    The referendum failed on November 6, 2012.

    Jack Franks is re-elected as State Rep in the same election.

    March 18, 2014 – Jack Franks promotes the voter elected County Board Chair referendum, which passes.

    Neither Jack Franks nor Steve Reick have competition in this primary election.

    June 6, 2014 article in the Northwest Herald – While promoting two county board advisory referendums, Jack Franks tells the reporter, “I can promise you I am not running for county chairman in 2016.”

    March 12, 2016 article in the Northwest Herald – The Herald makes the following observation about the upcoming County Board Chair election.

    “State law forbids a popularly elected chairman in the county the size of McHenry’s from voting on anything, but allows the holding of essentially dual offices – chairman and rank-and file board member – as a way around the prohibition.”

    (Thus if the County Board chair wants to vote on county board matters, they should also run to be a county board member, and if they win both positions, would be the County Board Chair and a County Board member.

    Keep that in mind when considering the County Board Chair line item veto power in the McSweeney proposed legislation).

    March 15, 2016 – Jack Franks has no competition in the primary election for State Representative.

    Jack Franks supporter Jeffery Lichte runs as a Republican, opposing Steve Reick in a Democrat smear campaign against Mr. Reick that is linked to Democrat operative Shaw Decremer.

    Steve Reick prevails.

    Mike Walkup defeates Joe Gottemoller as Republican candidate for County Board Chair.

    Mike Walkup also wins County Board member district 3 (pursuing the strategy above dated March 12, 2016).

    No Democrat candidate is on the ballot for County Board Chair.

    May 15, 2016 – Democrat Jack Franks announces his candidacy for County Board Chair.

    July 7, 2016 – Jack Franks withdraws his candidacy as Democrat candidate for 63rd District State Representative.

    July 9, 2016 – The McHenry County Democrats selected John Bartman to replace Jack Franks as Democrat candidate for 63rd District State Representative.

    November 8, 2016 – Democrat Jack Franks wins McHenry County Board Chair.

    Republican Steve Reick wins 63rd District State Representative.


    Providing an executive with line item veto over something he doesn’t have authority to approve is wrong.

    It provides the executive too much power and is not what the voters approved when they approved the elected county board chair referendum.

    To expand on that, as Mr. Skinner explained in previous posts, County Board Chair line item veto power can be misused in a variety of ways, including as an executive carrot and hammer.

    The implication is do what the County Board Chair wants, or he can line item veto something of importance to the other person.

    Various types of political power are one of the major drivers behind government dysfunction in Illinois.


    The King of political power in Illinois, and in the entire country for that matter, is Michael Madigan who currently holds the positions of:

    – Chicago 22nd Ward Committeeman

    – 22nd District State Representative

    – State House Speaker

    – 3rd Congressional District Commiteeman

    – Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.


    The cumulative effect is extraordinary political power.

    Compared to politicians in other states, this level of political power is not normal.

    Michael Madigan is an outlier when it comes to political power.


    Jack Franks almost certainly does not operate in isolation from the Democrat party.

    For example, if he aspires to a higher office, he will need additional money and support beyond what he himself can muster.

    This applies to just about everyone, even very wealthy people like Bruce Rauner, who is far wealthier than Jack Franks, as we learned in the November 2018 election.

    Thus Jack Franks may very well want help from others, and in the Illinois Democrat party, that means Michael Madigan.

    Keeping that in mind, Jack Franks was a State Representative for 18 years, from January 1999 – January 11, 2017.

    Jack Franks voted for Michael Madigan to be House Speaker for that entire 18 year period (99.9% or so of the House Democrats have done the same).

    During that period, Jack Franks observed how Michael Madigan obtained and used political power.

    Not only that, but behind the scenes are the political operatives and specialists advising, consulting, and otherwise working with with Jack Franks and Michael Madigan.

    In several instances, such as Michael Noonan, Sean Tenner, and Shaw Decremer, said operatives and specialists have worked with both Michael Madigan and Jack Franks.


    What this bill does is enable more political power not only for Jack Franks, but also for Michael Madigan.


    From the proposed legislation, it seems that some combination of Jack Franks, Michael Madigan, political operatives and specialists, and lawyers are concerned about the legality of some actions Franks has taken as County Board Chair.

  10. You got this from the Onion, right?

    I especially like the one where Franks (who obviously drafted this as McSweeney would have no way of knowing all of these particulars) takes away the Members’ health insurance and gives it to himself.

    Also, since the Chairman would not be considered any longer to be a County Board Member, the stripping of their health benefits would not apply to his benefits which he would continue to receive.

    I’m surprised he doesn’t give himself the power to declare a “National Emergency”.

  11. Add four more political power positions for Michael J Madigan, bringing the total to 9:

    – Chair of the 13th Ward Democratic Org PAC (To support political goals of the members of the 13th ward)

    – Chair of the Democratic Majority PAC (To elect Democrat candidates to the State House)

    – Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois PAC (To elect Democrat candidates to public and personal office across the state)

    – Friends of Michael J Madigan PAC (to elect Michael J Madigan) > Search Options > Committee Search > Search


    And here is the 10th political power position for Michael J Madigan

    – Superdelegate to the 2016 Democrat National Convention (DNC).

  12. The point about health benefits is a good one.

    From “Not in the [ILGA] summary above are proposed requirements that”:

    “health insurance for County Board members is abolished and the amount saved can be transferred to the Chairman’s budget”

    This from the man receiving a state pension while

    – employed as the county board chair, and

    – employed as a private attorney.

    If he wants to save the taxpayers money, how about not taking his pension until he’s actually retired.

  13. Here’s a better idea:

    Take away the benefits from board members, but don’t support Franks’ sycophants.

    Fire them instead!

    Save even more money.

  14. How is that McHenry County can come up with a steady stream of Republican assholes?

  15. McSweeney appears to be unstable at best.

    He sure seems morally bankrupt, just like the Democrats that run this bankrupt state.

  16. Franks isn’t taking the state paid health insurance because providers aren’t accepting it as they are not being paid by the state in a timely fashion.

    That’s why he is using the county policy.

  17. I thought it was for the money the state pays him because he is not taking it.

  18. My God! Who will drain the swamp in McHenry County!?
    What a cesspool Franks has made this place with the help from one of the least likeable Republicans. Is this even legal?

  19. Cal and his misfits are a bunch of conspiracy theorists who protect a broken and bloated system that cost taxpayers and enriches cronies.

    Cronies like Mike Walkup don’t care about McHenry County.

    Mike bilked taxpayers for five months, took over $25,000 worth of salary and benefits that he was not entitled to while living hundreds of miles away.

    Meanwhile, KnownExtremist (aka Mike Walkup) and Skinner said Franks was taking the county health insurance instead of the state policy because of payments.

    But if you really dig into the plan, it’s much worse coverage and a higher deductible.

    Google it.

    Perhaps Franks taking the lesser healthcare in solidarity with employees instead of taking a better, free perk is the right thing to do?

  20. There are many ways to obtain and maintain political power in Illinois:

    – Power and influence over jobs and contracts,

    – Utilization of political operatives and specialists,

    – Political campaign help, contributions, and votes,

    – Change law and policy to obtain more political power,

    – Political appointments,

    – Shift power over the legislative process to the top (elected official(s))

    – much more.

    Here is the most entertaining way in the shortest amount of time to learn how that system works.

    Madigan: Power. Privilege. Influence. by Illinois Policy Institute


    Pertaining to McHenry County, Michael Madigan would like to see the 63rd (held by Steve Reick) and 52nd (held by Dave McSweeney) State Representative Districts shift from Republican to Democrat.

    Keeping the McSweeney seat in mind, what was a key strategy used by Michael Madigan to eliminate Bruce Rauner?

    Passing legislation, signed by Bruce Rauner, that he knew would anger many conservative Republicans.

    What do we have here (HB 3317 in the 101st General Assembly)?

    Legislation that if passed into law will anger some Republicans, which in turn would weaken a re-election by Mr. Sweeney in a variety of ways.

    If Mr. McSweeney does not run for re-election as 52nd District State Representative for whatever reason, it would likely be easier for a Democrat to defeat a fresh face rather than a 52nd House District incumbent.

  21. If Piece of Shit John Styf had a single vertebrae in his spine, he’d at least put his name below his editorial opinions.

  22. Nob, feelings on Gasser aside, If Piece of Shit Jon Styf had a single vertebrae in his spine, he’d at least put his name below his editorial opinions.

  23. the nob, give it a rest.

    Wrong thread, all know you are a Miller lover

  24. Former Illinois state legislators with at least 8 years of service whom opt out of receiving SEGIP benefits are entitled to some sort of monetary compensation?

  25. LOL, he’s just a part of those that lack a spine at the NWH.

    In this case they are correct in their opinion, they seem to have some vertebrae.

    See comments on FB, very telling.

  26. McSweenie started blowing Franks horn back last year when he wanted to get rid of Townships with no plan and no evidence of any savings to the taxpayers.

    They are seen together laughing it up.

    Probably thought it would slip thru thinking that the taxpayers/voters are stupid.

    If the voters want to get rid of their township fine, but just know that this will add more union labor and pensions to the problem in IL.

    If you have a problem with townships like Algonquin because of the Millers, just create more oversight.

    Don’t subject the township taxpayers to have to do without if their township really does what they want them to at a cost lower than municipalities.

    They are really needed in the rural areas.

    This is just bad legislature for headlines or to make it look like the elected are doing something when actually they are just fooling you.

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