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August 10, 2022

Madison Co. Board Must Answer to Law; Re: New Ordinance Restricting Chairman’s Powers –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On July 19, 2022

Madison, Co., IL. (ECWd) –

The following questions were sent to the Madison County State’s Attorney (“MCSA”) Tom Haine, and he has yet to answer or comment on them.

At their special meeting, the Madison County Board voted to adopt an amended Ordinance pertaining to the powers and duties of the county board chairman – the Ordinance alleges it does not remove powers granted by statute, however, it does exactly that.

These things listed below need careful consideration prior to acting on this new ordinance, should it be signed by the chairman. If the chairman should return it to the board unsigned within 10 business days, it must be reworked to come into compliance with the powers and duties of a county board under township organization with a chairman elected at large, prior to any further votes to this ordinance.

Here are the questions sent to the MCSA:

  • Does Section 2-1003 permit a county board to choose a vice-chairman when the county board chairman is elected at large?
  • Can a county under township organization chose a chairman pro tem and a vice-chairman pro tem?
  • Does a county board have the authority to remove a vice-chairman when Section 2-1003 only grants the power to remove a chairman when the chairman is not elected at large (no mention of power to remove vice-chairman)?
    • If so, can they do this with 2/3 vote when statute requires 4/5 vote to remove chairman?
  • Can the county board change the only statutorily authorize meeting where it may be permitted to choose a chairman and vice chairman (see Section 2-1003) and decide to choose one (if they have the choosing power) at another meeting?
  • Can the board remove the statutory powers granted a chairman in Section 2-1005?

Who Chooses Vice-Chairman?

Chairman (in counties with chairman elected at large).

From the text of the statute (Counties Code), it appears as if the county board can only choose a vice-chairman when the county board chairman is not elected at large. Madison County elects its chairman at large, and this Section does not grant to the board the power to choose a vice-chairman under those circumstances.

Sec. 2-1003. Chairman and vice-chairman of county boardThe county board shall, unless the chairman is elected by the voters of the county, at its first meeting in the month following the month in which county board members are elected, choose one of its members as chairman for a term of 2 years and at the same meeting, choose one of its members as vice-chairman for a term of 2 years. The vice-chairman shall serve in the place of the chairman at any meeting of the county board in which the chairman is not present. In case of the absence of the chairman and the vice-chairman at any meeting, the members present shall choose one of their number as temporary chairman.

Madison County: Vice-Chairman or Chairman Pro Tem?

Vice-Chairman.

Madison County is formed under township organization (see this map showing types of Illinois county governments).

A county formed under township organization may have a vice-chairman (Division 2-1 Counties Under Township Organization and Section 2-1003)

A county formed under the commission form of government, may have a Chairman Pro Tempore (Division 2-4 Counties Not Under Township Organization Organized as a Commission Form of Government and Section 2-6006)

Madison County was not granted the powers to have a Chairman Pro Tem.

Madison County, as a county formed under township form of government, was granted the power to have a Vice-Chairman.

Can County Board Remove Vice-Chairman?

No.

According to Section 2-1003 of the counties code for counties under township organization, the county board may remove a chairman (if the chairman is not elected at large) with a 4/5 vote and is silent on any powers to remove a vice-chairman.

When the statute grants removal powers for chairman, but is silent on removal powers for vice-chairman, then the board does not possess those powers to remove a vice-chairman.

When is a Vice-Chairman Chosen?

December 2022.

According to Section 2-1003 of the Counties Code, a vice-chairman is chosen at the first meeting in the month following the month in which county board members are elected – in counties under township organization, such as Madison County.

  • County Board members are elected in November 2022
  • The first meeting in the month following the month in which they are elected is December 2022
  • That, friends, is the only statutorily authorized time for choosing a vice-chairman of a county board

Can “Veto” Powers be Removed from Chairman?

No.

For counties under township organization, the power to “veto” or return an ordinance or resolution to the board is granted to the chairman, when chairmen are elected at-large, under statute (Section 2-1005 of the Counties Code).

Madison County Board Chairman has the power to return a resolution or ordinance to the board (veto) if he does not agree with it.

 

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