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McHenry County Board meeting nixed

Chairwoman’s illness postpones discussion on committee guidelines

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 11:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 11:33 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County Board discussion on whether it needs more substantial guidelines on how its committee meetings are run was postponed Friday on account of the illness and absence of the board chairwoman who called it.

County Board members attended the Committee of the Whole meeting Friday called by Chairwoman Tina Hill, R-Woodstock, but learned Hill could not make it because she was sick. Members promptly adjourned the meeting to a later date.

“I think she’s looking for some consistency among committee meetings and how they’re done,” said board Vice Chairman James Heisler, R-Crystal Lake, who ran the brief meeting in Hill’s absence.

Hill called the meeting to discuss having uniformity on how chairpeople of the board’s 11 standing committees run the meetings in which much of county government’s work gets done.

While County Board rules explicitly spell out how meetings of the full 24-member board are run, they contain few edicts regarding committee meetings, aside from mandates that they follow Robert’s Rules of Order and that the committee chairperson votes last. Other rules, such as voting in open session and allowing public comment, are mandated by the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

The flow of committee meetings varies significantly because they depend greatly on the personality and technique of the individual chairpeople, and the interactions among the various committee members’ personalities. Some committees run matter-of-fact meetings that flow quickly, while others stretch into several hours regardless of the amount of agenda items. Some committee chairpeople only allow audience members to speak during the public comment portion, while others will recognize them during relevant discussions.

Hill said last month that no one incident or practice prompted the discussion, but rather she has heard ongoing concerns over how differences in how various committees handle standard practices.

Every committee contains seven County Board members, with at least one from each of its six districts, except for the Liquor and License Committee, which has only five members. A change to County Board rules adopted several months ago will bring that committee up to seven members after the November 2014 election.

Committee assignments and the chairpeople are selected by the County Board chairman and a special committee following each November election. Their selections must be ratified by the full County Board.

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