By Bob Balgemann


Creation of an ad-hoc committee to deal with filling specialized, appointed positions within Boone County government was brought up at the January County Board meeting.

After discussion failed to reach a consensus, the matter was referred to the board’s annual planning retreat, held Feb. 3, for a possible recommendation.

The administrative and legislative committee earlier in January voted 4-0 to recommend forming such a committee. But at the Jan. 17 board meeting member Cathy Ward immediately asked: “Why is the board doing this? How many times do we actually do this?”

Board Chairman Karl Johnson agreed the issue “unfortunately leaves the question open to a lot of things.”

The idea, he said, was to create a uniform approach to interviewing candidates for specialty positions. Not for all positions, he stressed, but for appointments to such positions as county administrator, administrative assistant, county engineer, and various department directors.

He said the County Board Chairman should be an ex-officio member of that committee.

The chairman of the five-member Administrative and Legislative Committee, one of seven standing committees of the full county board, is heavily involved in this issue. The current committee chairman is board member Marshall Newhouse.

As envisioned, Chairman Johnson said the committee would look at all of the applications, interview the top few candidates and bring the top candidate to the oversight committee to which that position reports. Then the full county board would vote on the appointment.

“This is trying to streamline, to have a more professional process,” he concluded.

Loose lips …

Some states have more open application processes, in which the names of applicants for various governmental jobs are public record as soon as they are received.

Not so with the State of Illinois, yet board member Bernard O’Malley said he thought there needs to be a definite element of privacy. Should an ad-hoc committee be created, he said, “You have to be careful who you invite” to committee meetings. “There are a lot of loose lips in this county.”

Board member Brad Stark agreed, saying some candidates are

For complete article pick up the Feb. 21 Belvidere Daily Republican.