Vote on Lake County Board rules changes delayed

For the second time in as many months, the Lake County Board on Tuesday sent proposed changes to rules regarding member behavior and transparency back to a committee.

The package was kicked down by the head of the rules committee, Commissioner Paul Frank, before it could be debated or voted upon during Tuesday's county board meeting in Waukegan.

Although many of the proposed changes are fairly inconsequential language alterations, some are designed to improve commissioner behavior and government accountability. For example, the changes would:

• Limit the opportunities for board members to speak on agenda items during board meetings to two, five-minute comments, unless an extension is granted by the board's leader.

• Restrict a member's electronic attendance of board meetings using telephone or video services to twice annually for employment-related reasons, including military service. There will be no limit for electronic attendance prompted by illness, disability, emergencies, other county board business or Lake County Forest Preserve District business.

• Require members to disclose, on the county website, spending related to county work.

• Mandate commissioners email copies of proposed amendments to agenda items to all members 24 hours before meetings "as a professional courtesy."

It was this last item that drew criticism from several commissioners during last month's board meeting and led to the package's rejection at that time. Several commissioners insisted they should be able to propose amendments during meetings as usual.

County board members said new language was proposed and discussed privately rather than in a public committee meeting.

On Tuesday, Frank said the committee will discuss the proposals before bringing them back to the full board in May.

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