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County Board chairman: Yes

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

McHenry County voters will be asked in the primary election whether the position of County Board chairman should be determined by popular vote.

The Northwest Herald has been asking for years for the County Board to allow voters to make this decision.

Now that you get to weigh in, we encourage you to vote “yes.”

Currently, voters elect their County Board representatives by district – four each in six geographic districts. Every two years, the County Board members themselves elect their chairman.

If the referendum passes, the County Board chairman will be elected by voters countywide. The chairman will become a 25th County Board member, albeit a nonvoting member. The chairman’s term would be four years.

The current means of electing a County Board chairman is devoid of accountability. If the chairman comes from one of the 24 members elected by district, only the voters in the chairman’s district can vote him or her out.

Popularly electing a County Board chairman brings accountability to the role. A County Board chairman elected by all the voters must answer to all the voters.

Countywide voters deserve to decide whether they want to elect the chairman in a countywide election at the polls, or whether their representatives on the County Board should continue to elect the chairman.

Now that the County Board has finally put the measure on the ballot, we endorse voting “yes” on making the County Board chairman a popularly elected position.

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