Power struggle between the Winnebago County Board and Chairperson

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The tension continues to rise between Winnebago County Board members and Chairperson Frank Haney. Members discussed changes to an ordinance Monday night that would further limit Haney's role.

Board members discuss ordinance changes

"This is another step in basically stripping the chairman's duties away," says 15th District's Burt Gerl. "It's because of mistrust and lack of leadership."

The board asked Haney to resign several times, despite him announcing he will not seek re-election in 2020.

The amendment to the ordinance would strip the ability for Haney to select a new Administrator once Carla Paschal resigns in August. The power to select would instead be in the hands of board members.

Haney's explained before that voters chose him for a reason, and that they wanted him to hold a specific role. He argues changing his role goes against what voters wanted.

Jim Webster of District 2 says the change makes sense, since Haney is not going to be around much longer. "That's one person's decision if it stayed with the chairman, versus 20 people that get to weigh in if it's with the board."

Other members say it's not about the position, it's about the person. "It's about the person, Mr. Frank Haney," says Gerl. "It's the deterioration of the relationship between him and the board."

Gerl acknowledges that members feelings are getting in the way of some decisions, but he says he understands the frustration anyway. In the end, he agrees the two parties involved need to work together in Haney's remaining months.

"If we go down this road of the back and forth rhetoric, I think that's what the public sees as dysfunction."