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updated: 2/8/2012 7:14 PM

McHenry County Board members upset with Franks over legislation

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  • Jack Franks

    Jack Franks


Some McHenry County Board members on Tuesday criticized state Rep. Jack Franks for introducing legislation -- the latest one a bill aimed at creating a pilot program in McHenry County that would limit property tax growth -- without meeting with them first.

"This has happened in other local governments where Mr. Franks has stuck his nose in there," board member Peter Merkel said to scattered applause. "It's time somebody calls him out on this. If he has an issue, come and talk to us."

Board member Ersel Schuster congratulated Merkel for his stance.

"To act on legislation that affects us without talking to us, both McHenry and Lake, is so far over the top," she said about Franks.

County board member Mary Donner agreed.

"He targets McHenry County all the time," she said.

In January, the Marengo Democrat also introduced House Bill 3953, which would give voters in Lake and McHenry counties the power to elect the board chairman, as is done in Cook, DuPage and Kane counties.

Franks said it all comes down to having different agendas.

"They have made it abundantly clear they disagree with me. I'm a guy who believes in less government and less taxes," he said. "I think if I came, it would be a chance for them to try and beat me up."

Franks said he rarely gets invited to county board meetings and when that happens, his schedule doesn't allow it. Several board members complained they've never seen him at meetings in the last decade, but Franks says he was there for a discussion about video gambling, which was outlawed by the county in 2009.

County Board Chairman Ken Koehler wrote in a Jan. 20 letter to the McHenry County state legislative delegation that the county board is opposed to House Bill 3953. The board last discussed the issue in spring 2011, officials said.

In response, Franks proposed asking voters to weigh in on the issue in a referendum question on the November ballot.

County board member Randall Donley said he'd like to have another discussion about the chairmanship at a committee of the whole meeting. "I have talked to an awful lot of members, and everybody seems to have a lot of different opinions," Donley said, adding he's in favor of turning it into a countywide elected position.

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