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County committee deciding who will do what

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board chairman after every November election convenes an aptly named Committee on Committees to assign the board’s 24 members to groups that hash out much of the county government’s business.

This time, the process is different in two important ways. For the first time in eight years, a new chairman is overseeing it. And more than one-third of the board is new.

The chairman selects six members, one from each of the board’s six districts, to help assign members to 11 standing committees. It was Chairman Ken Koehler, R-Crystal Lake, who supervised the process after the past four elections. The board after this election elected Tina Hill, R-Woodstock, to a two-year term as chairwoman.

Hill’s Committee on Committees meets at 9 a.m. Friday and includes one of the board’s two Democrats and one newly elected member. Hill chose Anna May Miller, R-Cary, Donna Kurtz, R-Crystal Lake, newcomer Mary McClellan, R-Holiday Hills, Sue Draffkorn, R-Wonder Lake, Paula Yensen, D-Lake in the Hills, and Mary McCann, R-Woodstock.

The group makes sure each committee has at least one member from each district – the committees each have seven seats, except for the liquor committee, which has five. The assignments of committee chairmen – significant when it comes to securing votes for the board chairmanship – is discussed to some extent, but typically rests with the board chairman.

But the full board must approve the committee assignments by vote. Hill said she anticipates the committee assignments to come before the full board at its first meeting in January.

Barring any changes desired by Hill, almost half of the board’s committees will need new chairmen after the election. The former chairmen of the finance, building projects and public health committees no longer are on the board. Hill and Vice Chairman James Heisler, R-Crystal Lake, must relinquish their chairmanships of the planning and legislative committees because rules forbid the holders of either office from holding a chairmanship.

Nine new board members were sworn in earlier this month, the largest freshman class since at least 1992, when seven new members were elected after a significant post-census redistricting. The 2012 redistricting was minor, shifting a few precincts to reflect population shifts, and did not draw any incumbents into new districts.

Each of the board’s 11 standing committees has lost between two and four members.

Hill also will assign members as liaisons to about two dozen other boards, such as the McHenry County Economic Development Corp. and the McHenry County Conservation District.

If you go ...

McHenry County Board Committee on Committees

When: 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14.

Where: Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

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