By Bob Balgemann


After discussion, Boone County Board Chairman Bob Walberg said he hoped to recommend someone to fill a vacancy on the board at a special meeting June 29.

At the board’s regular meeting June 15, he formally declared a vacancy on the board, following the May 12 death of Craig Schultz, a Democrat. But the void had already been advertised with a deadline for applicants set at June 24.

So far, only Jessica Muellner, a deputy assessor for Belvidere Township, has applied.

John Gedney, new chairman of the county’s Democratic Party, addressed that issue and said they wanted the vacancy to be filled – with a Democrat – immediately.

“We’ve gone through the process and have a candidate,” he said.

Board member Karl Johnson said the vacancy had been advertised with a deadline for applicants. Appointing someone that night (June 15) would be a betrayal of the public, he said.

However, Gedney countered that to put the decision in the hands of county board members was betraying the Democratic Party.

“Mr. Schultz died May 12,” more than one month ago, he said. “And now we’re putting it off [filling the seat] even longer.”

He added that the party chose a candidate who was involved with the party.

“We no longer will be a farm team for the Republican Party,” Gedney said.

County State’s Attorney Michelle Courier interjected that a replacement board member could be appointed that night.

So Gedney said, “I ask you to do that.”

Chairman Walberg called for a show of hands from those who wanted the vacancy to be filled that night. Most indicated they wanted that to happen. Given that, he offered the name of Jessica Muellner for concurrence from the board.

“I know Jessica and I am comfortable with the appointment,” he said.

However, Johnson said he was “absolutely shocked” by that approach. He said the board has been constantly criticized for lying to the public about how a particular tax (public safety sales tax) is spent. The board then established a June 24 deadline for applicants for the board.

Johnson said it was “absolutely absurd to me” that the board now was proposing to make the appointment that night.

“Now we’re saying, ‘we’re just kidding,’ when someone comes in and pressures us,” he said, adding he would vote against the appointment.

While he didn’t oppose the candidate, he did oppose the procedure being used.

“I think we’re sending a wrong message,” he said.

Board member Sherry Giesecke took on the board’s appointment process.

“One meeting we do it this way and one meeting we do it that way,” she said.

She also took on Gedney, saying she was saddened by the way he came in “and elbowed us” over the appointment.

“You could have done this in a less offensive manner,” she said.

Gedney tried to respond but was cut short by Walberg, who said the public comments portion of the meeting was not a time for debate.

Board member Cathy Ward called for a vote, but discussion continued a while longer. When the vote finally was taken it was 9-2 against making the appointment that night.





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