SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To provide more transparency and an additional layer of accountability to local governments, state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, co-sponsored legislation to allow for the removal of a Lake County Board Chairperson.
“Like most counties in Illinois, in Lake County the county board chairperson is chosen by the members of the county board and not directly elected to that leadership position by the people,” said Edly-Allen. “This legislation creates a process by which members of the county board can vote to remove and replace the chairperson they have chosen.”
Edly-Allen co-sponsored House Bill 3593, which recently passed the House unanimously. The measure allows a county board to vote to remove a county board chairperson with a four-fifths majority vote. The law would not apply in the 9 counties where the county board chairperson is directly elected by the voters rather than chosen by the members of the county board.
Last year, Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor took an extended leave of absence amid allegations of misuse of a government-issued credit card. The Lake County Board did not have the authority under state law to appoint a different board member as chairperson in his absence, creating a vacancy that could not legally be filled. House Bill 3593 additionally grants county boards the ability to appoint a new chairman in cases of a vacancy of office.
“When a public official abuses their power and misuses taxpayer funds, it undermines the taxpayers’ ability to trust their county government and limits the ability of the county government to do the work of the people.” Edly-Allen added. “As we’ve seen firsthand in Lake County, it’s important to have this added layer of accountability to ensure that the board chairperson can be replaced in extenuating circumstances involving mismanagement and abuse of power.”