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Rogal Poised To Join McLean County Board After Pyne Withdraws

John McIntyre, Sally Pyne and Jim Rogal
Eric Stock
/
WGLT
Jim Rogal, right, speaks with McLean County Board Chair John McIntyre and Sally Pyne following Monday's McLean County Board Executive Committee meeting.

A McLean County Board candidate withdrew her candidacy for a vacant seat Monday, paving the way for the only other applicant to fill the post.

Democrat Sally Pyne said a county GOP official asked her to apply for the vacant seat in District 4 that covers parts of west and northwest Normal. Pyne and Jim Rogal were the only candidates who filed to serve the remaining 17 months of Logan Smith’s term. Smith announced last month he was taking a job out of state.

Pyne also referenced a McLean County GOP Facebook post that asked if any “moderate Democrats” would apply.

“If that is the perception of me (as a moderate), I have much work to do,” Pyne told the County Board Executive Committee that interviewed both candidates on Monday.

Pyne, a retired educator who served a two-year stint on the county board from 2012 to 2014, announced she would withdraw from the race and endorse Rogal.

“District 4 needs a representative who studies, and is concerned with, issues such as affordable housing, mental health support and health care assistance,” Pyne said.

Pyne also acknowledged questions about her ability to serve on the county board and the Normal Township Board at the same time. Pyne was recently re-elected to a second term as a township trustee.

An official with the Illinois State Board of Elections said the two offices are considered incompatible for one person to serve both simultaneously.

Rogal, an official with the with the Laborer’s International Union North America (LiUNA) and former state legislative liaison and Illinois Senate staffer, said the recent floods and the needs of small businesses and renters are usually best addressed through county and municipal government.

“All of those things can be done more effectively at the local level, or at the county level than they can usually be done at the state or federal level,” Rogal told the committee when asked why he’s seeking the post.

The county board is expected to fill the vacancy during its regular monthly meeting on Thursday. The county is required to fill the seat with someone of the same party as Smith.

Committee livestreams

In another matter, executive committee members Josh Barnett and Laurie Wollrab asked if the county could resume video livestreaming of each committee meeting on YouTube, as the board did during the first 15 months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wollrab said she believes streaming just the regular county board meetings isn’t enough, as most of the legislative work is done during committee meetings.

“We’ve always said the main business gets done in committees. Sometimes we just fly through those county board meetings — there’s a bunch of ‘yays’ and ‘nays’ and we’re done,” Wollrab said.

County interim administrator Cassy Taylor said she would need to investigate cost, but indicated the county would likely need to add a part-time position in the county IT department to produce the video feeds.

Committee member Catherine Metsker said she supports the idea, but suggested if cost is a barrier, the county could explore archiving the video after each meeting instead of streaming each one live. She indicated people who watch online would still not be able to participate, unlike those who attend the meetings.

“There is no interaction to do it livestreamed," Metsker said. "I’m not sure there’s a lot of benefit if it’s livestreamed (versus recorded)."

Metsker added the county should not use viewership as a guide to determine the livestream's value. She said some may not be regular viewers but may wish to watch a meeting for an issue that’s important to them.

The county board has nine committees that generally meet each month, and two sub-committees.

Corrected: July 13, 2021 at 5:24 PM CDT
WGLT corrected Cassy Taylor's title as McLean County interim administrator.
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