Nine new McHenry County Board members will be sworn into office on Monday, joining 15 incumbents who were re-elected to new terms.
We wish the new County Board the best during what are challenging financial times. We remind each of the elected members that they serve the taxpayers and voters who put them into office, not any special interests who might not have the best interests of their districts in mind.
We also remind them that county government’s business is the public’s business. The public’s business, by law, must be conducted in public. We don’t want any more attempts to hide county business from the public similar to the secret meeting last year when some County Board members attempted to redraw board district boundaries without notifying the public.
The first piece of business for the newly sworn-in board is to elect its chairman. There are three announced candidates for the chairmanship: Four-term Chairman Ken Koehler from District 2, and County Board members Tina Hill from District 5 and Ersel Schuster from District 6.
We have said in recent months that it’s time the County Board have a new chairman. While we stick by that, we do not intend to endorse either of the other announced candidates or anyone else for the leadership post.
All three announced candidates have been lobbying other County Board members for their votes. Most of this lobbying is going on behind the scenes, outside of the public’s view.
We have been advocates for giving voters a chance to decide if they would rather popularly elect the County Board chairman at the ballot box, as most other collar counties do, through a referendum.
We expect that at some point after the board elects its next chairman, it votes to place such a referendum on an upcoming ballot, giving voters that choice.
We continue to believe that a countywide, popularly elected board chairman is more accountable to voters.
During pre-election interviews with the Northwest Herald’s Editorial Board, most County Board candidates said they supported putting a referendum on the ballot.
We’ll see who sticks to their campaign promise after Monday’s vote.