At Least She Didn’t Hire Her Husband

Hiring relatives is such a temptation for elected officials.

My first experience was in the McHenry County Clerk’s Office when I was County Treasurer.

Vernon Kays had his wife Gladys handling the phone at the door of the Clerk’s Office.

At some point, I learned that she was the lowest-paid person in his office.

Fast forward to Mary McClellan’s stewardship of the County Clerk’s Office.

Nunda Township Trustee Joni Smith, husband Precinct Committeeman Brent Smith, County Board member Tina Hill, County Board candidate Mary McClellan and her husband Ed Gil.

She hired her husband and Joe Tirio, while running for Recorder of Deeds made not hiring his wife Karen, then a member of the McHenry County College Board, a quite visible issue.

Gil was paid $58,729.58 in 2018.

Joe Tirio’s sign says he won’t hire his wife.

Perhaps he was planning on challenging McClellan for Clerk two years later.

McClellan hired her husband Gil.

Joe Tirio’s slogan in his campaign for McHenry County Recorder of Deeds remained the same for his campaign for County Clerk: “I Won’t Hire My Wife.

Now comes an elected Cook County Board of (Assessment) Review Commisisoner Tammy Wendt, who has hired her first cousin as her top assistant at $150,000 a year.

Cook County has an ethics ordinance prohibiting relative patronage hiring.

That is possible because Cook County is a Home Rule unit, meaning it can pass local ordinances as long as they do not violate state law. (That allows Cook County and any other municipality also to pass tax increases without voter approval.)

McHenry County does not have Home Rule status, so its County Board can’t prohibit such unsavory patronage.

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