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May 24, 2024

McHenry County Administrator – Two step shuffle

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 26, 2017

McHenry County (ECWd) –

When you pay a person $195,881.00 to be “responsible for managing the cost-effective delivery of county services for more than 300,000 residents”, you might expect him to know what services are under the hat of the County Government he is responsible for.

After the special county board meeting on August 23rd, I took to the podium to expose some findings that the board should be made aware of. As is evident in the video, Franks (County Chairman) had no interest in listening to anything I had to say.

During the discussion of leasing out the county nursing home, it was clear the county intends on circumventing the bidding process in their push to hire a broker to do the job of finding a private entity to lease the nursing home to. My questioning of the process begins at the 1:00:27 mark of the video.

Note how the County Administrator, in response to my question on bidding, first claims they are doing this under the Professional Services, which does not require bidding.  But after being called out on the fact a “broker” is not listed under the Professional Services Selection Act, the two step shuffle begins. He shifts from no bid requirement under the PSSA to it is going out for bid: (“It’s out for bid” – 1:01:35 mark of the video).

I challenge County Chairman Franks to put the taxpayer’s interest at the forefront and utilize the Local Government Electronic Reverse Auction Act which takes all the cronyism out of no bid contracts and drives the cost to the taxpayers down. I suspect they will ignore this opportunity to save even more taxpayer dollars, which makes us wonder, why would Franks vote YES for this law and then not use it?

When I raised the issue with the claim they know what they are doing is not true, the Administrator tells me that the Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB), and I quote; “They are their own local government” (1:03:30 in the video).

Oh Really?

  • A single county ETS Board is not denominated a body politic and corporate. Consequently, the entity could not sue or be sued in its own name.
  • Although an ETS Board is granted certain statutory powers exercisable only by its governing board, the powers and duties of a single county ETS Board are defined by the county:
  • The funding of the ETS Board is also dependent upon the county since the Board has no independent powers of taxation. (only recently changed to the State Police)
  • The fiscal relationship between the ETS Board and the county is similar to that which exists between the county and other county agencies. For example, in Opinion No. 80-032, issued September 25, 1980 (1980 Ill. Att’y Gen. Op. 127), Attorney General Fahner determined that the Care and Treatment Board for Certain Mentally Deficient Persons (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 91 1/2, par. 201 fil;;. seq.) was an agency of the county.
  • Because the county board exercises authority over a single county ETS Board through its powers to create the Board, appoint its members, and control the level of its funding, it appears that the Board is an agency of the county.
  • Although it possesses certain powers which only the ETS Board may exercise, the Board is not an autonomous, independent unit of government.
  • Accordingly, as a county agency, it appears that it is the duty of the State’s Attorney to provide legal representation to an ETS Board which is established by the county.
  • Because a county ETS Board is, as previously discussed, an agency of the county, it appears that contracts for the 911 telephone system would be subject to the competitive bidding requirements of section 5-1022, unless they are exempt under the professional services exception.

I pointed out during my talking points that there were expenditures of the ETSB which are not legal, one of those being the hiring of an attorney, as we did find legal expenditures listed in the most recent ETSB report to the State Police.  The AG opinion referenced above in bullet points, and found below or at this link, confirms the State’s Attorney is the legal representative of the ETSB, so there should not be tax dollars being spent on legal fees for ETSB.

While the Administrator tried to shuffle around the issue by pointing out who sits on the board, as if that matters, it became evident that he, much like so many other counties in this state, had no idea that their ETSB is, in fact, part of county government and under the control of the county.

When an Administrator attempts to white-wash citizen concerns with comments that are inconsistent with the law, it should concern you.  It should concern you, even more, when he claims they follow the law, as the fact of the matter is, he had no clue what the law was pertaining to this agency of county government, who spent money on legal fees, which would show they are “not” following the law as was claimed.

No Mr. Austin, ETSB is not their own local government as you claimed.  

Cost of county administrator giving opinions on county government $195,881.00

Cost of Edgar County Watchdogs disproving the $195,881.00 opinion: Priceless!

90-046 Legal Rep - Comp Bidding



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  • Deborah
    Posted at 21:44h, 26 August Reply

    A few years ago I questioned all of the “no-bid” contracts our village approved on the “consent agenda” and the Trustee told me that they were obligated by law to take the lowest bidder and that sometimes they under-bid just to get the business and then we end up with shoddy work. Is it true that a public body is obligated to hire the lowest bidder?

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 07:51h, 27 August Reply

      No, that is not true. They must award the contract to the lowest “responsible” bidder! That means they have to establish criteria to determine what responsible means and apply it to the bidders.

  • Like Ur Chops
    Posted at 04:56h, 27 August Reply

    Board Chairman wouldn’t address the public but took a reporter into a back office to talk? Got something to hide? screwed up Priorities. This county’s citizens are clearly not being represented. The first board member that spoke is a class act. As is the other board member behind him.

  • Thanks, but no Franks
    Posted at 06:43h, 27 August Reply

    Thank you watchdogs!!!

  • Mark Kmiecik
    Posted at 10:07h, 27 August Reply

    Just like cockroaches, these elected officials run from the sunlight of transparency.

    • Mark Kmiecik
      Posted at 16:39h, 27 August Reply

      The problem in the State of Illinois is the lack of enforcement and prosecution of the lawbreakers in Government. Where is the Attorney General? Where is the State’s Attorney? These Guys (Franks and others) violate the law because they have no worry of consequences and no fear.

      A legal defense fund should be formed, to allow lawsuits be filed in Federal court, (local state courts in my opinion are corrupt) and put pressure and consequences on these bad actor politicians that who violate law and trust of the public.

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