Considering my considerable coverage of all manner of governing bodies, all you have to do is give me the length of the mayor’s/president’s/chairman’s tenure and the number of councilmen/board members/trustees involved, and with no other details, I will tell you, with alarming accuracy, the dynamic that pervades that particular electoral ensemble.
Unless the “leader” is a significant problem from the get-go, the first two years of their first term almost always consists of a cooperative honeymoon phase. It’s during the second half of that term when the proceedings start to get a little more contentious.
After that, this certain to decay process is typically driven by the “minions” as they inevitably fall into five predictable categories:
- The Follower – They tend towards the center of power and generally go along with the leader.
- The Lone Loon – This typically male minion ardently believes every word he utters is divinely inspired and, thus, he should be revered and adored above all others. The love to single-handedly take meetings directly into the dumpster.
- The Wannabes – These are the folks who, though they didn’t run for leader because they lack that skill, become completely convinced they should be the one in charge and they work to undermine the leader at every turn.
- The Why-Did-I-Runner – These candidates had no clue about all the hard work involved, so they simply show up (sometimes) and rarely say or add anything material as they pray for their term to come a quick and merciful end.
- The Good Ones – These rare birds give it their best, put in the required hours, and make a real effort to consider their constituents in the continuing decision-making process.
Now, add the ironic fact that, despite surviving some of the most contentious local races on the planet, these elected officials harbor some of the thinnest skins on the planet. That makes them the catalyst for the leader’s second term descending into something somewhere between merely contentious and completely careening off the rails.
I suppose I could’ve summed up that entire preamble up with the traditional “familiarity breeds contempt” aphorism, but it’s too late now! Then it’s simply a matter of rinse, lather, and repeat.
“Jeff! Why are you bringing this up now?” I’m glad you asked! As Chris works his way towards that Building A exit one last time, our current County Board is rapidly descending into that second term cat herding category.
But before his no-account “adoring throng” attacks me for being his mouthpiece one more time (What fun!), please allow me to stipulate for the record that Chairman Lauzen doesn’t always play well with others such that even he and I have had it out at times.
The truth is, whether those board members or countywide elected officials like it or not, the Chairman is the “manager,” and it’s up to them to effectively deal with him, not vice versa.
First, that sometime surly mien is far from rare when it comes to board leaders, and second, the best baseball managers – Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson, Leo Durocher and the great Billy Martin – consistently won because they were of the demanding sort. Much as it is with a MLB roster, the Chairman has to contend with 24 disparate board voices and, as Leo the Lip once accurately noted, “Nice guys finish last!”
Flaunting fear is not option because the 2’s and 3’s (see above list) will eat you for breakfast and spit you out for lunch.
And it’s two recent board rebellions that incited me into maintaining that this governmental gaggle really needs to get over themselves and consider growing up. Not that this abundantly constructive criticism will make much of a difference, mind you!
The first attempted coup, or the Kane Mutiny as I like to call it, involved the entire Board revolting – and “they certainly are revolting ” to quote another great philosopher name Marx – back in early July. With pitchforks and torches in hand, they insisted the Chairman disburse that $93 million in federal COVID relief funds, NOW!
Just to whet your journalistic appetite, this journalist may have played a part in that possibility, too!
The second and semi-ongoing insurrection revolves around the Chairman’s attempt to rein in the perpetually rogue and patronage heavy Kane County Workforce Development Board. The absurd written response from Board Members John Hoscheit and John Martin in that regard reminded me of the time Latka Gravas warned alter-ego Vic Ferrari not to come back or he’d “call him a name!”
It’s certainly not the kind of thing that wins friends and influences people.
Of course, no errant Kane County effort would be complete without State’s Attorney Joe McMahon making an unnecessary appearance, because we all know Joe never misses an opportunity to make things worse. It’s part of his vast charm.
But because brevity isn’t my bailiwick and I have other things to do (hard to believe, right?), you’re gonna have to wait till Wednesday to read the thrilling final conclusion to this fascinating tale. Same Bat time, same Bat channel!
I can hardly wait!