Lake County boards could get more firing power

  • Aaron Lawlor

    Aaron Lawlor

  • Tammy Duckworth

    Tammy Duckworth

Updated 5/2/2014 5:38 AM

Lake County officials are getting closer to giving county boards a better chance to fire appointees.

Why would they want to?


Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor points to the $122,000 the Lake County Housing Authority board paid to former CEO Jeneen Smith-Underwood as part of a voluntary separation agreement.

Lawlor questioned whether it was appropriate for the Housing Authority board members, who are appointed to their jobs, to pay Smith-Underwood to leave four months after they hired her, and then rehire the previous CEO.

The proposal approved by an Illinois House committee Thursday would let suburban county boards create codes of ethics to guide the actions of appointed boards like the Lake County Housing Authority and others throughout the suburbs.

The code would also give county board officials a way to dismiss board appointees if they thought the code of ethics had been broken.

"We're not waiting for the next shoe to drop or scandal to hit," Lawlor said.

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The plan has already made it through the Illinois Senate, and state Rep. Sam Yingling, a Grayslake Democrat, won preliminary approval in the House Thursday.

It also would apply to county appointees to transit boards like Metra, which has had its own high-profile issues lately.

Not weird science:

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates on the House floor this week congratulated middle school girls from Mount Prospect District 57 for starting a new club called The Science Chicks.

"When I was in flight school to become a helicopter pilot, all the flight instructors asked me to please try to find more women to join flight school," Duckworth said. "They said that women made excellent natural pilots, but that they were less likely to even come forward and apply to the flight training program than their male peers."

Another Fawell candidacy:

William Fawell, of the DuPage County family of politically active Fawells, wants to run for Congress in western Illinois as a candidate for the Constitution Party.


Fawell, of Galena, says his father was the twin brother of Harris Fawell, who served in the Illinois Senate in the 1960s and 1970s and in Congress in the 1980s and 1990s.

"I lived in DuPage County most of my life, for the most part in West Chicago where the entire family is from. I moved out here to God's Country about 15 years ago," he said.

He's collecting signatures in the 17th Congressional District, a pretty active race.

The rematch mirrors what's happening in the suburban 10th District as Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos runs for re-election against the Republican who held the seat for the term before her, Bobby Schilling.

Step right up:

Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens was in Springfield this week to try to remind state lawmakers that his town sends more in taxes to Illinois' coffers than it asks for back.

Case in point: Stephens says the Fashion Outlets of Chicago sent $6 million of income tax revenue to the state and $10 million in sales taxes from its August 2013 opening through the end of the year.

He drew a humorous comparison when talking about the potential for continued development of family-friendly attractions in town and his touting of Rosemont's many draws.

"I feel like P.T. Barnum," he said.

Run it out:

Thursday was the anniversary of state Sen. Matt Murphy seriously injuring his knee while running to first base during the annual Illinois House vs. Senate softball game.

He says he'll play again this year.

But no sprinting.

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