Lake County Board adopts rules to improve member decorum, transparency

  • Lake County Board member Paul Frank of Highland Park

    Lake County Board member Paul Frank of Highland Park

 
 

The Lake County Board on Tuesday approved a long-awaited package of rules changes regarding member decorum and transparency.

Many of the changes are fairly inconsequential language alterations, but some will significantly affect how board members do their business. For example:

• Board members will be limited to speak on agenda items during board meetings to two, five-minute comments per day, unless an extension is granted by the board's leader.

• Electronic attendance of board meetings using telephone or video services will be limited 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.

• Board members will be required to disclose, on the county website, spending related to county work and post copies of taxpayer-funded mailers on the site.

That last point was particularly important to board member Paul Frank, who leads the rules committee.

"Board members will have to be transparent about where that money is being spent and what those mailings look like," said Frank, a Highland Park Democrat.

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Additionally, board members who plan to propose amendments to agenda items are encouraged to communicate with all other members about those changes as early as possible before meetings.

A previous version of the package would have mandated proposed amendments be emailed to all board members at least 24 hours before meetings. Some commissioners -- including Republicans Judy Martini of Fox Lake, Michael Danforth of Fox River Grove and Dick Barr of Round Lake Beach -- had objected to that proposal at the board's March meeting, and the entire package was rejected.

A planned vote on a revised package in April didn't happen because of a perceived lack of public discussion.

No members objected to the revised package Tuesday.

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