New era for county board : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|New era for county board |
|Shaw elected board chairman in split 8-2 vote |
|by Matt Schury|
John Shaw was elected as the new chairman of the Kendall County Board Monday evening in what his some of board colleagues said is a sign of a new era of better cooperation in county government.
The board elected Shaw in an 8-2 vote during a 30-minute organizational meeting held before a packed audience at the Historic Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville.
Casting the negative votes on the motion to elected Shaw chairman were former board chairman John Purcell and Jeff Wehrli. Judy Gilmour, a newcomer to the board, nominated Shaw.
Wehrli also nominated Purcell during the meeting, but the nomination never went to a vote.
Shaw, 74, of Yorkville, was elected to his second term on the board. He retired in 2010 after 44 years with the Central Limestone Company in Lisbon.
He said he was somewhat surprised to be elected chairman.
"You never know what's going to happen. I mean I had a little bit of an inkling," Shaw said, adding that he was approached by five people concerning the chairmanship after a County Board meeting last week.
The committee positions will still need to be set by Shaw and he said that he hopes the board "works together in a little more cohesive fashion."
The election was in stark contrast to the tumultuous four-hour meeting that took place just two years ago when Purcell was elected chairman.
"I was amazed that it went that fast," Shaw said. "I had a predication by one board member that it would last a half hour and I guess that was pretty close."
He added that he had people outside the board working on his behalf.
"There's plenty of time for the younger folks in two years time to take over and shove me off the cliff," he said.
He said it was too early to tell how his chairmanship would be different than Purcell's time leading the board. However he added that there probably wouldn't be "as much hostility from some of the citizens."
"I think John, unfortunately, had some overflow from some other arguments and things that were going on," he said. "I just got done seeing the movie 'Lincoln' about what it took to pass the 13th Amendment and our meetings are tame compared to that."
Reach out to
Shaw noted that he plans to reach out to the municipalities in the county.
"I'd like to get everybody in the county kind of on the same page," he said. "We got a lot of work to do as far as trying to get some economic development going and get some people to move back into this county."
Purcell mentioned after the meeting that he was happy for Shaw and while he would have liked to be chairman again he looks forward to working with him.
"There are definitely some responsibilities that I'm not upset to give up. There is a lot of behind the scenes work," Purcell said, adding he was asked by Shaw to serve again as chairman of the board's Finance Committee as he had before being elected
"I'll serve in any way he asks me to," Purcell said. "I wish him well, I wish the board well, we've got a lot to accomplish in the next couple of years. It doesn't matter who the chair is."
In terms of the responsibilities, Purcell noted that the chairman is just one vote but he does set the agenda for each meeting. He also appoints people to commissions, committees and boards.
"The behind the scenes stuff-if you want to call it power-is where there is a lot of responsibility," he said. "John ran a successful business for years and years so having responsibly is not foreign to him at all. He'll do fine. I'm happy for John. I'd like to be chair, but I'm happy for John."
Dan Koukol, elected to his second term on the board, said with the smooth election of Shaw he believes the Board had turned a page.
"The gridlock is gone and there will be a lot of projects to go forward, he said. "I think the pettiness, arguing and stuff is well behind us. I've only been here for 24 months but that was the most education you can ever have."
Koukol, who drew a four-year term, added that he would like to continue to serve on the board's Economic Development Committee.
Shaw is the third chairman to lead the County Board since former long-time chairman John Church stepped down from the board in 2008. Church served as board chairman for 12 years. Former board member Anne Vickery served one term as chairman following Church, and Purcell was elected in 2010.
Former board member Suzanne Petrella gave an invocation shortly before the meeting began. Shaw, along with the nine other board members, were sworn in by Judge Robert Pilmer. Shaw, a Marine, added the U.S. Marine Corps motto, "semper fidelis" to the end of his oath of office.
County Clerk Debbie Gillette randomly drew ping pong balls out of a container with each of the board members names written on them to decide who would serve two-year terms and who would serve four-year terms.
The senior most members were picked randomly for the four year terms including-Purcell, Shaw, Wehrli, Koukol, and Elizabeth Flowers.
The newcomers with two-year terms included Matt Prochaska, Judy Gilmour, Amy Cesich, Lynn Cullick and Scott Gryder.
Other leadership position voted on by the board included: Gilmour as vice chairman, Wehrli as Forest Preserve Board president, Cullick as vice president of the Forest Preserve Board and Flowers as secretary of the Forest Preserve Board.