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State's Attorney and County Board Chairman unveil stronger McHenry County Ethics Ordinance

Post Date:03/06/2019 3:13 PM

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – Republican State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and Democratic County Board Chairman Jack Franks have teamed together to rewrite and strengthen the McHenry County Ethics Ordinance for county staff and officials.

The new ordinance expands punishable ethical offenses above and beyond state-mandated infractions to include sexual harassment, nepotism, conflicts of interest, and making or discussing favorable decisions for a business entity in exchange for future employment. It also allows other local governments in McHenry County to adopt the ordinance and therefore use the McHenry County Ethics Commission to hear and adjudicate complaints.

The new provisions build on the existing state-mandated bans on engaging in prohibited political activity, and accepting gifts from prohibited sources. McHenry County has long had policies in place forbidding workplace sexual harassment.

“This isn’t a good-government measure – this is great government,” Franks, D-Marengo, said. “While I believe most county officials act with unimpeachable integrity, this ordinance lets the people we represent know how seriously we take upholding the public trust. I want to thank Mister Kenneally and county staff for helping craft an ethics ordinance that I believe will become the gold standard for governments throughout Illinois.”

“The prior County Ethics Ordinance was lacking in both scope and clarity.  We are pleased to have worked with the Chairman and County Administration in making important substantive and procedural reforms to the Ethics Ordinance for consideration by the County Board,” Kenneally said.

The County Board Administrative Services Committee recommended approval of the ordinance at its Wednesday meeting. It could come up for a formal County Board vote as soon as its April 16 meeting.