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McHenry County Board approves referendums to impose new term limits

Board Chairman Jack Franks addresses board members during a McHenry County Board meeting July 17 in Woodstock.
Board Chairman Jack Franks addresses board members during a McHenry County Board meeting July 17 in Woodstock.

The McHenry County Board voted Tuesday to push two binding referendums to the November ballot that could impose term limits on board members and the chairman.

At a special meeting at the county chambers in Woodstock, board members voted, 18-3, to advance a referendum to the ballot that would limit elected members to a cumulative 12 years on the board.

Board members John Hammerand, Mary McCann and Jim Heisler voted against the resolution.

The second resolution focused on term limits for the board chairman. The board also voted, 18-3, to approve the referendum that could limit the chairman to no more than two terms.

If approved by voters in November, the term limits would become active as of the 2022 redistricting election, when the size reduction ordinance would take effect. 

County Board Chairman Jack Franks applauded the board for pushing the referendums forward.

“It shows McHenry County is again leading the state in reform,” Franks said. “We don’t need a crisis or scandal to reform. We’re proactive.”

Momentum toward changing the shape of McHenry County government has picked up in recent months. The board soon is expected to discuss cutting its size from 24 to 18 members.

Proponents of term limits contend that they will stop elected officials from making politics their career, while opponents argue limits will collapse institutional knowledge.

Franks, a Marengo Democrat, said it’s all about giving power to the people.

“I want to stop career politicians and empower regular folks,” he said.

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