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updated: 10/12/2012 2:12 PM

Kane Dist. 17 candidates talk board transparency

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  • Deborah Allan, left, and Jeffrey Meyer

      Deborah Allan, left, and Jeffrey Meyer

 
 

The candidates seeking a Kane County Board seat in District 17 have different views on ways to encourage transparency on the county board. While challenger Jeffrey Meyer says the county should hold its meetings at night to encourage more public participation, incumbent Deborah Allan would rather reach a broader audience by televising the committee meetings.

The 17th District includes parts of eastern Elgin and portions of the city north of Route 20.

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At the moment, Batavia Public Access TV televises the meetings of the full county board and forest preserve district once a month. The committee meetings, where most of the work takes place, are not recorded.

Meyer, 30, an Elgin Republican, says constituents have told him they'd love to attend the meetings but can't, because they work during the day when all of the meetings are held.

Moving the meetings to a time when most people can attend would show that the county board is thinking about the people it represents, Meyer said.

"Little changes like that, I think, would go a long way toward doing away with the perception that Kane County is operating for people other than its constituents," Meyer said.

Conducting business in front of a wider audience also would bring "increased scrutiny on the board members to try to behave themselves and treat each other more respectfully and collaboratively," Meyer said.

But if the meetings took place at night, it could prove to be too much of a hassle to juggle staff during the day, said Allan, 63, who has held her board seat for 10 years.

"We frequently need our staff to be at these meetings," the Elgin Democrat said. "The work that's done every day is done by the staff and the county, so when we have working committees and basic staff is bringing us their agenda ... I'm not sure it would be practical to try to give a lot of people comp time from their day jobs in order to come to night meetings."

She would rather make arrangements to televise the committee meetings and is researching how much that would cost.

In the meantime, there are about two dozen committees, and Allan said the agendas and minutes are available online for anyone who wants to stay informed.

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