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The Office of County Executive

Issue Summary

Champaign County voters decided to change the structure of the County government in 2016 by passing a referendum that calls for a County Executive form of government without home rule. The County Executive will oversee the administration of the County’s business, similar to the President at the Federal level or the Governor at the State level. The County Board will remain the legislative branch of government. The referendum passed by voters included keeping the current status of Champaign County as a non-home-rule county, which means the Executive/Board cannot exceed annual 5% tax increases to pay for rising expenses.

In addition to overseeing the administration of County services, the County Executive will preside over County Board meetings, have veto power for County Board resolutions (that can be overridden with a 3/5 board vote), make County appointments (with board approval), and prepare the annual County budget for board approval.

As an elected official, the County Executive can publicly express views about issues as well as solicit public support for controversial issues. The County Executive can veto Board resolutions when there is disagreement. (A majority of the 22-person Champaign County Board is 12 votes; 15 votes are required to reach the 3/5 necessary for override.) One concern expressed by voters is that the Executive and Board could get into such an adversarial situation that decisions are indefinitely delayed.

In Illinois, Will County is the only other county with this structure. The County Executive for Will County has other management and legal staff under his office. The Champaign County Board has indicated its continuing support for the current professional County Administrator role; however some questions remain about whether adding the County Executive will increase costs of County administration or whether savings can be found within administration or other departments to offset this cost. The County Board will address this issue in its 2017-2018 budget discussions.

My Experience

  • Proven political and administrative skills
  • Working knowledge of Champaign County services and resources
  • Ability to develop mutually beneficial working relationships with other governmental units, the public, and private businesses in the region
  • Hands on experience with complex budgets
  • Track record of developing innovative approaches to problem-solving that are inclusive and effective

My Response as County Executive

  1. Recommend starting the County Executive salary lower than the $117,000 currently being proposed, combining the County Recorder’s functions with the County Clerk’s office, and eliminating the Office of the Recorder at the next election
  2. Set up decision-making processes that are inclusive, accountable and issue-driven so that voters can clearly see how the County seeks to serve their needs

Additional Information

  •  Illinois Counties Code regarding the County Executive Form of Government: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=750&ChapterID=12&DocName=005500050HDiv.+2-5&SeqEnd=12300000&SeqStart=10600000
  • Will County information: http://www.willcountyillinois.com/
  • Champaign County Board Resolution to Support County Administrator Role: http://www.co.champaign.il.us/CountyBoard/CB/2017/170921_Meeting/170921Agendafull.pdf
  • Champaign County Board meeting schedule for budget discussions: http://www.co.champaign.il.us/cal/2017annualcal.pdf

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