Lawmakers call for more transparency on county RTA replacement

Franks, Duffy question how Hill is conducting search for board member

Area lawmakers are questioning whether McHenry County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill is providing enough information on her search for the county’s new Regional Transportation Authority Board representative.

State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, and state Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, wrote a letter to Hill on Wednesday and said the process needed more transparency and that information about how to apply should be more widely publicized.

“I want this to be a full process where anyone can apply and that the application process makes sense,” Franks said. “Make it open and transparent. We’ve never had that in this county. It’s only been a good old boys network where you have to know somebody.”

In the letter, Franks and Duffy listed several questions they believe needed answering, including whether there was a formal application for the position, how many applications the County Board received, the date the application process will be closed and what the board is doing to engage the residents of McHenry County in the process.

Franks said he spoke with Hill twice since he sent the letter, and she agreed the community needed more information about the application process.

Friday originally was set as the application deadline, but Hill said she has extended it until 2 p.m. Oct. 25. She said she has received only one application, but she has “heard of another one out there.”

“We’re trying to get the word out,” she said. “We’re looking for people with expertise. People who understand Chicago politics and our transportation rail system.”

Hill said her office has followed its normal process for filling an open position.

“Our board members knew,” Hill said. “Our insiders knew to get the word out. We put it in the paper. My guess is there are not a lot of people out there who fit that bill.”

Franks said his ideal candidate for the board would be “apolitical” with transportation and business experience.

“Our public transportation system deals with so many people on a daily basis,” Franks said. “We don’t need political hacks; we need people with credentials that can contribute.”

In August, Hill and current RTA representative Al Jourdan agreed on a plan to keep Jourdan in his expired term while accepting applications. Upon choosing a successor, Jourdan will step down.

State law gives Hill the power to select the county’s representative to the RTA board, but final approval rests with a majority of the 24-member County Board.

Those interested in applying for the position can go to www.co.mchenry.il.us and click on the “County Government” tab. Next, navigate to “Departments A-I” dropdown tab and click on “County Board.” Then click on “County Board Appointments,” and scroll down to the fifth posting titled “Regional Transportation Authority Board.

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