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Learning from Springfield

Thursday, Feb 7, 2013

* Former state Sen. Chris Lauzen has created a Kane County Board Executive Committee, which is comprised of 14 of the board’s 24 members. Lauzen, who was elected chairman last year, has decreed that the other ten can’t speak at meetings unless they sign up in advance like the rest of the public and limit themselves to an on-topic three minutes of commentary.

Needless to say, that new policy isn’t going over well with the “out of the loop ten,” including board member Mark Davoust

“It seems ridiculous to me that I have to come in here as a member of the public to speak,” Davoust said. “I was elected by the public to speak.”

He pointed out that all county board members are allowed to speak at lower-level committee meetings and the full board meeting. However, the Executive Committee is often the first time board members hear all the background on a pending vote.

That’s a big problem, said county board member Jesse Vazquez, because a majority of the county board, 14 members, sit on the Executive Committee. That makes the full county board meeting mostly a rubber stamp for the Executive Committee, Vazquez said.

Lauzen’s retort

“This is, as Shakespeare would say, much ado about nothing. For these guys who are complaining, you should ask what you’re producing of value in your service that matters to your constituents. We have bigger issues. Quit your bellyaching.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


48 Comments
  1. - WizzardOfOzzie - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    This citizens of Kane County are going to get what they voted for… buffoonery.

    Chairman Lauzen is what I like to call “unique”.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:16 pm:

    I am sure Lauzen checked this out first …

    But, a “Quarum” could be called right after an “Exec” Committee meeting, in theory, and if no one is really paying attention …

    I know, there are posting rules, and all the other rules pertaining to Municipal and County government.

    My Point?

    Wonder if someone is going to make this about the “haves and have nots” and “Majority ram-rodding the minority”?

    Why would Lauzen open himself up by having an “Exec” Committee, with its numbers being over 50% of the entire board’s numbers AND treat the minority, “Non-Exec” members like he is?

    Why go down this road … oh…yeah … it’s Chris Lauzen …CPA.

    Way to bring people together, Yikes!


  3. - Endangered Moderate Species - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    What is the demographic/political makeup of the 14 member committee compared to the 24 member board?


  4. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:20 pm:

    Chris has been, as would be expected, a train wreck even in just his first month.

    He tried to get the board to provide him with a top level chief of staff/administrator (which the county has never had) after he campaigned against a supposedly bloated senior staff and swore he’d never hire an administrator.

    He told the media he was having trouble hiring a county CFO because his political opponents were “sabatoging” his search and telling potential candidates that they would not want to work for him. As if anyone couldn’t find that out with a phone call or two.

    Then he tried to hire a failed county board candidate and political ally with no experience to head the county’s animal control department even though he swore to end what he called “cronyism.” He still wants his pal hired in a lesser job he’s also unqualified for.

    Now, after railing against the supposedly dictatorial leadership of his predecessor he actually wants to muzzle the elected board members.

    The local media is having a field day. They’ve already written editorials attacking his hypocrisy.

    Now the people in Kane County are learning the things about Chris that all of us in Springfield have known for decades.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    As a Side-Bar…

    I miss … the Fab 5.


  6. - Kane - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    Lord help the Board members and staff of Kane County government and the citizens. They have quite a burden on their hands dealing with the new Chairman.


  7. - Shemp - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    County Board sizes are one more bloated body in Illinois. Another reason to reduce them. Iowa gets away with 3 county board members per county. I wouldn’t advocate that few necessarily, but this state is riddled with county boards that number well into the 20’s.


  8. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:30 pm:

    Mr. Lauzen,
    Elected board members are elected. They are chosen by a voting public, consequently, they are more than public speakers because they represent more than one person.

    What you are doing is ruining the basis for representational government and democracy. You have bastardized what our founding fathers believed and what liberty-loving citizens of all political parties believe today.

    What you are doing is corruption serving only yourself. You should be impeached immediately from office.

    Beijing, Moscow, and Havana are smiling at your addled-minded buffoonery.


  9. - Irish - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:30 pm:

    So conceivably if eight members of the Exec. committee happened to be together it would have to be considered a meeting and proper notifications should have been set out. Since eight members of the Exec committee are a quorum of the 14 members who supercede the authority of the 24.


  10. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    Just can’t believe that this is legal, or even constitutional. If members are elected at-large, he may be okay, but if representing districts, it would mean that those districts are being deprived of equal representation.


  11. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:50 pm:

    This is just plain wrong. And I agree with almost everything Vanilla Man has said, except for calling for his impeachment. I wonder if the clear majority of voters in Kane County know what’s going on with their County Board (somehow I doubt it) and if THEY’D concur with how their Government is run there (somehow I’d doubt THAT, too. And the audacity of Lauzen’s retort…!


  12. - siriusly - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    Very indicative of why you see legislators and former legislators running to be Mayors.

    After years of getting crapped on, they realize its much better to have the gavel in your hand even if at the County or local level.


  13. - reformer - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    When Lauzen was in the minority in the Senate, didn’t he complain about the unfair treatment by the majority?


  14. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    Not. Surprised.
    And how ironic is it that Mr. Anti-Patronage tries to clout a crony into the dog pound?


  15. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    Don’t see why it isn’t legal and constitutional, you can form committees and you can determine who is on the committees.

    Not saying it is right, just don’t get where “legal and constitutional” comes in. Is there some requirement that members of an elected body have the same rights in a committee if they are not members of that committee?

    Again, not saying he is right on this and looking at the list of the 10 can’t say some of those names (one in particular) is not a surprise.

    Just don’t see how it is illegal.


  16. - Endangered Moderate Species - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    -Iowa gets away with 3 county board members per county.-

    Shemp - Iowa has a population of 3,074,186 and 99 Counties (avg. County population is 31,052. Kane County has a population of 520,271.

    By using your comparison of Iowa, Kane County is 16 times bigger than the average Iowa County. Kane County would need 50 Board members to give the same amount of representation per citizen as a board member in Iowa.


  17. - A not so brief history... - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    so much for treating everyone with respect and dignity, perhaps Honorary Brigade of Illinois Coronels, the right and mighty Sen. Lauzen CPA should quit his “belly-aching.”


  18. - Public Opinion - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    In the words of Amy Poehler, ” Really Chris Lauzen? You who railed on for years about the injustice of the caucus method of electing the Republican party’s state central committee promoting a direct primary system that you exclaimed would be fair and just involving all the voters.. Really Chris Lauzen? You who railed ad nausem in spoken and written word about the injustice of the Dem majority in the State Senate “silencing” your voice. Really Chris Lauzen? You who declared in your campaign that your credo was to “treat people with respect” REALLY. This latest move to silence those who were chosen to represent their constituents in both word and deed is steeped the hypocrisy which we in Springfield came to expect from you.


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    What advantage does Lauzen get out of this?


  20. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:12 pm:

    This is obnoxious, unnecessary and completely uncalled for.

    I used to give Lauzen the benefit of the doubt, but no more.

    What a joke.


  21. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:13 pm:

    wordslinger,

    He gets to stick it some people, he also can try and use it to drive a wedge between some folks on the board.


  22. - Wait just a minute - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    Didn’t Lauzen run on treating people fairly and with respect? Where’s the respect now Chris? Chris now has the full support of the board (the 14 on exec. comm,) leaving the 10 out in the cold with no say whatsoever. He should just do away with the monthly board meetings and save us a lot of time and trouble - they were painful anyway.


  23. - PublicServant - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    I’m pretty sure Lauzen missed the “completing the sentence” memo…

    ===Eric Cantor likewise opined this week that all Republicans want to do is “help people” and the problem is that they have not “completed the sentence.===

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/06/opinion/borger-republican-reinvention/?hpt=po_r1


  24. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    Not a Lauzen fan, but not sure why it would be illegal. They may have a set up where the Exec Committee is made up of the chairs of the 14 committees of the County Board (I don’t know how many they do have-just saying). I can see the problem where he would personally select who is on the committee, but the article does not say how they were determined.
    The Exec Committee may determine what does and doesn’t get on the agenda, but you can always make an amendment from the floor to add items to future agendas.
    They probably do not have final authority on anything.
    Its not intended to be a committee of the whole. The purpose of any committee is for the members of that committee to consider the items properly before the committee. Input from the public or other board members who are not members of the committee is invited, but since they are not members of the committee itself, it seems logical that some reasonable limits be placed on how long non-committee members may address the committee.
    Perhaps the analysis of this matter is being viewed through the Lauzen stinks prism rather than looking at it for what it actually is or isn’t.


  25. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    And the dictator has spoken.

    Why even have board input. He should just make all of the decisions.


  26. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    Cannot wait until Republican leadership imposes “The Lauzen Rule” on Lauzen and his buddies at all meetings and public events.

    Why let a minority or dissenting voice be heard, right? It seems only fair.

    Do unto others, Mr. Lauzen.

    Lest others do unto you.


  27. - anon sequitor - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:32 pm:

    I guess I am in the minority. I have known Chris for many years and despite the fact that I agree/disagree with him half the time, I have no problem “getting a meeting” with him to be heard. I think some of this is either sour grapes, or the “Lauzen stinks prism” mentioned above.

    A smart politician would go in to see Chris and work out the differences. Instead, these guys whine to the press. No wonder they are on the outside looking in.


  28. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    Elected representatives shouldn’t need to go meet with the chairman to “be heard.” They should be able to raise issues in public, before the media and the voters. This helps keep government accountable. How about if legislators just go have private meetings with Madigan and he decides what will happen…Ok, bad example.

    The fact remains that Lauzen’s hypocrisy is mind blowing. He displays the same pathological behavior of our (currently) jailed governor in that he seems to really believe his own BS.


  29. - . - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    Is that you Dick? Or maybe it’s Jon


  30. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    The Kane County Exec committee appears to be composed of the various committee chairs and vice chairs. Nothing wrong with that, same process is used in a number of different Counties around the State.

    If memory serves me correctly, standard Roberts rules of order is that only the chair and members of the Exec committee can speak unless called upon by the Chair. So, for Mark Davoust, he’s not going to be able to speak freely at Exec.

    Now, in most Counties where this setup exists, they don’t apply the rules to other non-Exec board members on speech that Chris Lauzen did. They tend to be a little bit looser. But, that’s still the Chair’s decision.

    As to Animal Control in Kane County, having attended more than a few Kane Public Health committee meetings over the years - well, nothing much surprises me there.

    Kane County hired a really innovative, sharp, tough minded vet to run Animal Control last year. She lasted a little more than a couple of months in that environment. The leadership/bureaucracy in place at the time threw her to the wolves. Very smart lady.


  31. - cover - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    As a state Senator, Lauzen rarely limited his own commentary either to 3 minutes or to being on-topic. That was true even during his tenure back in the 1990s when the GOP controlled the Senate.


  32. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    Counties in IL are either non-Commission or Commission Counties. Commission Counties (17 in all) have only 3 or 5 member County Boards. Most of the North Central / Northern Counties in IL are all non-Commission Counties.

    More information available at http://www.ilcounty.org/news/22-3.html


  33. - anon sequitor - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 4:23 pm:

    Adam: Your version of being heard is precisely why government frequently can’t get anything done. If you want to accomplish something, get together and work it out. If all you want to do is inflate your ego and pack your press clippings, go bloviate to the press, without making a serious effort to work it out.


  34. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 4:29 pm:

    Anon, as I said, it is about accountability and trasnparency. Things Chris supposedly champions. But his deeds do not match his words.

    And talk about someone who is all about ego and press clippings. Chris has never gotten anything accomplished by working cooperatively with colleagues. In fact, he’s never gotten anything accomplished at all.

    Much can be done when people set aside their egos beyond the public glare, but it is also important for elected officials to be able to say their piece in public and to hold those in power (chairman, governor, president, etc.) accountable for thier actions.


  35. - Just Me - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 6:08 pm:

    Lauren needs to remember that there are all sorts of laws the General Assembly passes for all government bodies but conveniently exempts itself from. As such, what you can do in the GA you can’t do elsewhere.


  36. - Paul Lyin - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 6:13 pm:

    Is anyone really surprised? I’m just glad he is out of state government. He is going to micromanage that board like a dictator, he won’t know what to do without that “power”.


  37. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 6:41 pm:

    I don’t know which is more ironic. “Hamlet” referencing Shakespeare or the King of the Bellyachers demanding an end to the bellyaching.


  38. - x ace - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 6:56 pm:

    It appears there are 24 Districts with one Member elected per District. Thus, as applied , the Rule looks vulnerable to a challenge.
    Force the Issue, the County pays both sides legal fees. Win or lose, the Chairman takes serious heat.
    Suspect that the matter should construed in favor of citizens not be deprived of representation.


  39. - Jon Zahm - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 8:43 pm:

    There is so much misinformation here I don’t know where to start. Lauzen does not want to hire an Administrator. That is the platform of his opponent who he beat 60-40. The whiners who were “yes men” for McConnaughay are no longer Committee Chairs. They don’t get special rights and privileges at the Exec Committee that the public does not have. This is a non-issue.


  40. - .facts about Kane - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 9:27 pm:

    Zahm has spoken. End of story


  41. - Oneman - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 9:49 pm:

    Unless I am missing something..

    Where does it say that every member of an elected body gets to speak at a committee meeting?

    It isn’t the full county board meeting is it?


  42. - Johnny Justice - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 10:28 pm:

    Most county boards are way to large. Cook has a gazillion times more people than Kane, but has a 17-member board, while Kane’s is 24. Sangamon, with even less people, has 29! Springfield Ald. Sam Cahnman led a group that put an advisory referendum on the ballot to reduce the size of Sangamon’s Bd. to Cook’s size, 17. Polls showed strong support for this, but then the big money and Farm Bureau spent tons of $$ to convince voters this would deny them representation. The NAACP jumped on the opposition cause it could go from 2 black reps to 1, even though with a board half as big they’d be the same percentage, and if they stayed at 2, they’d double their representation. It was like the GMO CA ballot initiative, which had overwhelming support until Monsanto and other big food corps. spent gazillions on contra ads.
    Sen. Andy Manar was successful in cutting Macoupin’s Co. Board in half, but he was Bd. Chairman and the Dems had an overwhelming Bd. majority, but it was a good & smart move by Andy.


  43. - Amalia - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 10:31 pm:

    wow, s/he’s such a “Lauzen,” will be my new fav way of saying someone is a total jerk.


  44. - History Here - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 5:48 am:

    Kane County was run for eight years under the exact same policy yet those commenting above were silent while the benefits roled in the way of contracts, contributions and benefits to the board members complaining now.

    The perceived “enemies” of the Chairman received nothing and actually were told it was inappropriate to ask questions regarding the budget.

    DuPage and Cook County have the same structure. Reinvent government if you will but the history and its patterns of leadership have not changed.


  45. - Non Denominator - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 8:17 am:

    It looks as if the response from Kane County regarding now Senator McConnaughay’s old “Bonnie Rule” is repeating itself. McConnaughay was the creator/innovator not allowing board members not on the Executive Committee to “ask questions.”

    This is old news where the naysayers today were complacently silent yesterday…and that they supported Lauzen’s opponents.


  46. - tom/prince - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 8:42 am:

    More evidence of the stealing going on in the name of democracy. This behavior will continue until America is broke. Which shouldn’t take long. One more decade perhaps.


  47. - .facts about Kane - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 8:45 am:

    once again, “facts” are distorted here. Bonnie was never NOT allowed to speak. However Bonnie was limited to the amount of time she could speak. While she raised many good questions 9 times out of 10 all she really wanted was to hear herself talk. If she had prepared for meetings 90% of her questions would have been irrelevant.


  48. - Non Denominator - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    Facts, Kunkel was told that questioning the details of the ridiculous expenditures on Senator McConnaughay’s consulting fees was “inappropriate.” Readers can watch the youtube to see the facts. In 2008 alone she was concerned about lobbying fees totaling $200,000 given to ex Dennis Hastert staffers and Senator McConnaughay’s campaign contributers.


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