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updated: 9/28/2012 9:28 PM

Lake county board candidates address transparency, ethics

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  • Jeff Werfel

    Jeff Werfel

  • Pat Carey

    Pat Carey


Voters will select between two veteran Grayslake politicians seeking a Lake County Board seat in the Nov. 6 election.

Republican Jeff Werfel is trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Pat Carey in county board District 6. Carey and Werfel recently addressed issues, including county board ethics and transparency, in a Daily Herald editorial board interview and candidate questionnaires.

Werfel ran unopposed in the GOP primary last spring, while Carey topped Eric Daniel Lake to represent the Democrats in the election. District 6 covers all of Grayslake and Hainesville, most of Round Lake Park and sections of Round Lake Beach and Third Lake.

Carey, elected to the county board in 2008, served four years as a Grayslake trustee and she was the village's mayor from 1993 to 2001. Werfel, a legislative aide to Republican state Rep. Sandy Cole, has been a Grayslake village board trustee since 2003.

Among the issues, both candidates were asked what, if any, new ethics-related rules are needed for elected county board officials and employees. County board members double as Lake County Forest Preserve District commissioners.

Carey said she believes county government and the forest district are served well by recently updated ethics ordinances.

"However, I am open to ideas for tightening the ethics ordinances even further and I support a continual process of reviewing them on an annual basis to look for any improvements that we could make," she said.

Werfel said he supports the current county board's efforts, such as a recently appointed ethics committee it created. In particular, he said, he backs a provision excluding county board members from getting involved in staff hiring decisions, outside of the administrator and department heads that are voted on by the elected officials.

"I would support an effort to review county hiring practices that prohibit former elected county officials and relatives (or) family members from being hired for staff positions for a required period of time," Werfel said.

On the issue of government transparency, Carey said she's always supported the idea, dating to when she was Grayslake's mayor and videotaping of village board meetings was initiated.

"I would support posting meeting attendance information for county and forest preserve board and committee meetings on the respective websites," she said. "We serve the constituents and they have a right to know how we are doing our job."

Werfel said the forest district's website is lacking in accessibility similar to the county end of government and that he supports upgrades being pursued to increase usefulness. He noted the county has received several awards from transparency groups for its website's transparency and comprehensive information.

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