Four possibly vying for McHenry Co. board chairmanship

Now that the dust has settled over the election of the new McHenry County Board, all eyes are on whether eight-year chairman Ken Koehler will get the job again or if the time has come for a new leader.

Koehler said he’s still deciding whether he wants to go for a fifth term; incumbents Tina Hill and Ersel Schuster said they want the chairmanship, while incumbent Nick Provenzano said he’s considering it. All four are Republicans.

The board chooses a chairman and vice chairman from its ranks every two years. The new county board, with only two Democrats among its 24 members, will do that at its organizational meeting on Monday, Dec. 3.

Koehler, 64, of Crystal Lake, who was first elected to the county board in 2000, barely retained his seat on the board after finishing fourth among six candidates for the four seats in District 2. People shouldn’t put too much stock into election “rankings,” Koehler said.

“I’ve never looked at that being a factor one way or another. There are a lot of reasons why people will get less votes than another person,” he said. For example, chairmen are in the spotlight, which in turn can attract negative attention and campaign advertisements, he said.

Koehler said he’s weighing family considerations before making his decision.

“It’s not just about the job,” he said. “If it were just about that, I’d love to continue.”

Schuster, 73, who lives near Woodstock, also pointed to negative ads as the reason for her fourth place in the District 6 election. Schuster served from 1986 to 1990, from 1996 to 2000, and was re-elected in 2008.

“I believe, based on my background and experience and my time on the board, I could fill the leadership and bring some integrity,” Schuster said.

Hill, 52, of Woodstock, who came in third in District 5, said this summer she wanted to run for chairman because the board needs change.

Koehler doesn’t have enough support on the board to be elected chairman a fifth time, Hill said. She was first elected in 2002.

Hill declined to comment further when reached by phone Friday.

“I’m not going to have any comment on that because it’s an internal thing,” she said. “I don’t deny what I said (this summer).”

Provenzano, 50, of McHenry, said he’s been asked by at least one county board member to seriously consider going for the chairmanship. Provenzano got 11,937 votes in his District 3 race, the highest total among all county board candidates according to unofficial results. Late absentee and provisional ballots will be counted Nov. 20.

“I was quite pleased with my results,” he said. “This is an opportunity to look at this with fresh eyes. I’m not ruling anything out — I’m keeping my options open. I’m talking with friends and supporters about all the different avenues open to me.”

Ersel Schuster
Tina Hill
Nick Provenzano
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