Mike Buehler: Candidate profile, McHenry County Board chairman

  • Mike Buehler

    Mike Buehler

Updated 10/8/2020 4:11 PM

In the race for chairman of the McHenry County Board, Democratic incumbent Jack Franks is challenged by Republican Mike Buehler.

Franks is completing his first term after leaving the Illinois House to run for the county chairman's seat in 2016. Buehler is the owner of a construction business who is making his first bid for elective office.


The candidates were asked to respond to a series of questions. Here are questionnaire responses from Buehler. Franks did not respond.

To review their websites, see franksformchenry.com and mikebuehler.com.

Q. Should the McHenry County Jail keep its contract to house U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees?

A. Yes.

Q. Should on-duty McHenry County sheriff's deputies wear body cameras?

A. While considering that the ACLU questions the use of body cameras in certain situations, I have spoken with members of multiple law enforcement agencies about this issue. Their answers make it clear that, while there are pros and cons to the idea, this is a question that requires a thorough discussion to ensure that our solution provides for the greatest protection of the general public, as well as our law enforcement personnel. I would welcome input from all quarters in exploring the question, while supporting the Sheriff's Department in arriving at the best possible decision.

Q. What do you bring to the table that your opponent does not?

A. As County Board Chairman, I bring a fresh perspective utilizing decades of experience as a successful small business owner delivering the highest level of public service and a commitment to fiscal responsibility our taxpayers deserve. Not a politician, I have no interest in our current chairman's political games and cutthroat politics and will conduct myself in a professional manner that maintains the office with the dignity it deserves. With 32 years experience in business, I have learned the importance of promoting an atmosphere of teamwork, communication, and collaboration to achieve the best solutions for the benefit of the residents and taxpayers of McHenry County. I will restore respectful and honest dialogue between board members, the administration and myself to develop a clear vision of the path to our success.

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Q. How do you envision this job? Why does that approach make sense?

A. Unlike my opponent, I understand the role of the chairman in McHenry County is a parliamentary one, not an executive one. In 2012, a referendum was on the ballot that would have changed county government to an executive form. It would have created a county executive who would have significant powers such as the executive branch of state or federal government. Voters overwhelmingly defeated this referendum by a nearly 2:1 ratio. But as my opponent is prone to do with decisions he doesn't like, he chooses to ignore the voice of the people (acting like) "The rules don't apply to me." The established board rules state, "The Chairman presides at all meetings of the County Board. The Chairman will keep County Board members informed of all formal directive-related communications that he or she makes to nongovernmental, as well as local, regional, state, and Federal government agencies, entities, or individuals so this may be provided at an upcoming board meeting, or as this occurs. The Chairman, pursuant to Section 3 of this Article, shall determine and establish the agenda for all regular meetings of the County Board after consulting with the Chairmen of the County Board's committees."

Q. Do you support a 10% salary reduction for McHenry County Board members? Why or why not? Are there other cuts to the budget you would pursue first?

A. I am committed to working with the McHenry County Board and appropriate established committees to determine fair and equitable compensation for all county employees. Compensation should be reasonable for the time commitment required in attending board meetings, Committee meetings, and other requirements of their positions. At the same time, we want to provide sufficient compensation to attract qualified board members with the ability to best serve the residents of McHenry County. The first cuts I would pursue would be the elimination of the two patronage positions created by the current chairman at a cost of over $600,000 over his 4-year term. To my knowledge, no prior chairman has hired their campaign staffers to work in the county office. When elected, neither will I.

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