Chairman, others urge Acosta to resign from McHenry County Board
The McHenry County Board and board Chairman Jack Franks were united in calling for the resignation of board member Carlos Acosta on Friday after his arrest the previous night.
Acosta, a Democrat from Woodstock, was released on bail Thursday night after being charged with two felony counts of endangering the life of a child and one felony count of reckless conduct.
"I believe it's safe to say that if it was up to the county board, and up to me, the overwhelming sentiment would be for him to step down," Franks said in a news release Friday afternoon. "If the public had the power under the law to remove him from office, I have no doubt that the consensus would be to do so."
Some board members have been encouraging Acosta to resign ever since he was fired from his position as a Department of Children and Family Services worker in December 2019 for his handling of the case of AJ Freund of Crystal Lake, a boy who was killed the previous April.
In May this year, an investigation was opened into the conduct of Acosta and his former supervisor at DCFS, Andrew Polovin, who was arrested on the same charges Thursday.
In his news release, Franks said he spoke with Acosta Friday morning and encouraged him to resign.
"My opinion is not based on his innocence or guilt, which is up to the court to decide, but his ability to represent the citizens of County Board District 5 with these charges being filed," Franks said in the release.
Board member Suzanne Ness said she was "shocked but not surprised" to hear about the charges brought against Acosta. She said she advised Acosta to resign at the beginning of the year and informed him she would not collaborate with him on any resolutions in the meantime.
"I never asked him about the case or what transpired, I only knew that his political life was over," Ness said Friday. "We serve at the will of the people and the people's voice mattered more in this than mine."
"In light of his arrest and charges, I now publicly call for him to step down from his position as I believe his continued presence on the board serves no one," Ness added.
Acosta could not be reached for comment Friday.
Board member Joseph Gottemoller said Friday that if Acosta is unwilling to resign, he should -- at the very least -- take a leave of absence while his case is heard. The best thing, however, would be for Acosta to resign as court proceedings around these charges are likely to take a while, leaving District 5 underrepresented in his absence, Gottemoller said.
District 5 covers all of Dorr Township and the central part of Grafton Township. The district is also represented by county board members Paula Yensen, Michael Skala and John Jung, Jr.
It has been quite some time since board member Carolyn Schofield has been able to work with Acosta effectively, she said in an interview Friday.
"I would really hope that he will reconsider resigning at this time," Schofield said. "I have a hard time working with him knowing that he has lost the respect of so many people in his district, that so many people have called for his resignation."
In January, a petition was started on change.org asking for signatures from the public to call for Acosta's resignation. The petition has more than 5,200 signatures.
Republican McHenry County Board Chairman candidate Mike Buehler sent out a news release Friday calling for the resignations of Acosta and Franks.
"Just recently, Franks called Acosta a model board member," Buehler said. "Franks should have asked Acosta to resign a long time ago. But the chairman put politics ahead of justice or decency. With Franks, politics always come first."
In the news release, Buehler accused Franks of subduing calls for Acosta's resignation earlier in the year and called for Franks to resign based on accusations of stalking and sexual misconduct made against him, which came to light earlier this year.
If Acosta is going to resign, then Franks should go with him, Buehler said -- a statement backed by board member Chuck Wheeler in the news release.
"I will not dignify Mr. Buehler's shameless and pathetic attempt to score political points on a 5-year-old boy's grave with a response," Franks said in a statement after reading Buehler's news release. "We should all be mourning the loss of AJ and trying to fix a broken system -- not exploit it for political gain."