Stolman questions proposed county board chairman change

SPRINGFIELD — A new proposal would allow Lake and McHenry County voters to choose their county board chairmen instead of having commissioners vote among themselves.

Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, filed the legislation, arguing those two counties should mirror other Chicago-area counties where voters already choose a board chair. In Lake and McHenry, voters elect county board members, who then pick the chairman.

Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman, however, questioned Franks’ move. Stolman said he thinks Franks’ plan is aimed at McHenry County Board Chairman Kenneth Koehler, who has feuded with Franks in the past.

Franks said he was surprised by questions of his motives and added that he has always wanted to help the residents of local government.

“I’ve always been for reform on the county boards and empowering citizens,” he said.

Koehler did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Stolman said it does not make sense for someone who doesn’t live in Lake County to change the form of government there. He added that county residents, not legislators, should decide on such changes.

“If our voters wanted to change the form of government and have an elected county board chairman, then it is certainly up to our voters,” Stolman said. “I don’t think a legislator should try to legislate that.”

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