Winnebago County
Winnebago County Seal

From the Desk of Chairman Frank Haney

Chairman's Invocation Address:

It's my pleasure to represent the Winnebago County Board.  I invite you to familiarize yourself with my fellow Board Members who give of their time and talent to represent and serve the citizens of Winnebago County. 

ACT Initiative: Become the most accountable, collaborative, and transparent unit of government in the state of Illinois.

As Winnebago County Board Chairman, we will re-align local government to better serve taxpayers in the 21st Century through professionalization and best practice.  The ACT Initiative outlines a number of topics on which I will report progress to the community during my first year in office. 

1. Restructure the County Administrative Leadership Team. Includes but is not limited to positions that impact other county departments. County Administrator, Deputy County Administrator, Chief Financial & Budget Officer, and others upon further evaluation.

2. Implement theWinnebago County Government Report Card. Develop and report on a series of departmental priority measures to evaluate the taxpayer return on investment. Taxpayer dollars will be rigorously assessed to ensure a focus on outcomes beneficial to the community and to develop a culture of continuous improvement free of political influence.

3. Extend Winnebago County Government Report Card to include entities and programs that the county funds through their budget. Host Fee, 1% Public Safety Tax, and other revenue distribution programs will be held accountable for the allocation and results generated by the funding provided through the County.   

4. Reform external appointment process. A systematic procedure for appointing (with advise and consent of the County Board) community members to represent the County on non-elected boards will be implemented to provide highly-qualified, well-aligned representatives.

5. Evaluate County Board committees. Create a Policy Committee for ongoing review of County Code and to ensure the Board’s governance model and practices are consistent with best practice. Utilized the Committee process to de-emphasize caucus practice.

6. Conduct an extensive internal and external efficiency and effectiveness audit. Review and implement joint purchasing and other resource sharing opportunities to eliminate duplicate services and functions.  Certain findings may lead to pursuit of consolidation of local government units with increased accountability and transparency.

7. Eliminate the real and perceived culture of cronyism and nepotism. Evaluate the role of leadership, human resources policies, enforcement, and transparency.

8. Administration - Board dynamic. Treat all board members with respect for their service to the community as elected representatives of citizens. Provide the Board with processes and materials that enable them to govern effectively and wisely.

9. Meet with all elected County officials on a regular, scheduled basis. Build trust, break-down silos, and create understanding of organizational opportunities and challenges.

10. Increase communication with the community. Rather than a single State of the County event, presentations and updates will be provided throughout the year. 

11. Establish the Chairman's Advisory Council. Ensure increased transparency and gain access to outside subject-matter expertise; members will not have other business with the County and input will be purely advisory.

12. Establish the Chairman's Youth Advisory Council. Engage young leaders before they graduate high school and leave for college.   

13. Review Finance Department - Internal Audit relationship. Revisit recent decision to transfer some finance duties to the County Auditor's office in which audits of one department are conducted within the same. 

14. Conduct annual review of finance and human resource systems and processes. This includes budget amendment process, bid process, risk management, and ethics policies. Benchmark against best practice in other county governments, municipalities, and private-sector. 

15. Discuss amending Board lay over policy. Discuss the possibility of lowering the number of affirmative votes needed to lay an item over. 

16. Discuss implementation of State Comptroller's vendor/campaign donor program. Consider requiring vendors to disclose campaign contributions.

17. Explore board training program. Conduct new board member orientation and on-going training.  

18. Local, state, and federal elected synergy. Work with local, state, and federal elected officials to ensure a new era of partnership and better results for taxpayers. Communicate, align, and speak with one voice as a region to impact future state and federal statues and funding.

19.Re-brand Winnebago County Government. Renew our image as a community and region by communicating this change process.  

Frank Haney, Chairman

Winnebago County
404 Elm Street
Rockford, IL 61101
OFC: (815) 319-4444

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