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posted: 2/23/2014 1:01 AM

Endorsement: No on general election for County Board chair

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Many voters say they oppose any expansion of government and decry the influence of big donations on the political system. The former is especially true in conservative-leaning areas like McHenry County. Which is why it's surprising that a measure that could both add a layer of government and raise the bar on campaign spending has gained some traction in the county. Just two years after a similar measure was soundly defeated, county voters will be asked March 18 whether the office of McHenry County Board chairman, which today is filled by a county board member chosen from among his or her peers, should be decided every four years by popular vote. The rationale behind the referendum is understandable, as many became tired of the perception -- fair or not -- that the chairman's office had become something bartered for among county board members in backroom deals. But, as was the case with the failed push for a county executive two years ago, the proposed correction could be even more troublesome than the perceived problem. Besides establishing another elected office and the cost that entails, the measure would create a high-profile and expensive countywide race, giving those with the money to afford it another chance to influence local government. We recommend that voters say "No" to the referendum.

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