Thursday, August 16, 2012
County Exec Up For Vote, Elected Chairman Up In Air
No one appeared Wednesday to oppose petitions for the County Executive referendum circulated by rural McHenry County State Rep. Jack Franks. There being almost triple the required signatures, Chief Judge Michael Sullivan certified them and sent the question to the County Clerk for inclusion on the ballot.
Some County Board members are upset about that and today they'll debate whether to ask for a referendum to elect their Chairman at-large. The Board only has until next Tuesday to approve the question. The problem it faces is that the County Executive referendum, if it passes, would become law, while the Chairman of the Board question, if it passed, would only express a desire.
"I had no choice," Franks told FEN Wednesday explaining why he circulated the County Executive petitions. "The only other option was for them to do what they refused to do," he said, referring to a move to directly elect the County Board Chairman which the Board rejected in March.
The current County regime resembles the U.S. House of Representatives where members choose one of their number to be Speaker. The County Board chooses a Chairman from among themselves to set agendas, conduct meetings and make committee assignments. There's no equivalent to the President at the County level. Franks' measure would create one in the office of County Executive who would set agendas, create the budget and hire and fire administrators.
No it isn't, said Franks, it's a place for the Chairman to bully the rest of the Board, hence his County Exec proposal. "It's really simple," Franks said. "Do you believe in democracy or not?"
In the pics: (above) State Rep. Jack Franks. (below) State Rep. Mike Tryon.