McLean County Board | WGLT

McLean County Board

McLean County Government

As part of GLT's 2016 Election Coverage, we invited the candidates in contested races to sit for interviews.

Two of the six did not participate in answering questions, some of which were formulated by the League of Women Voters, a non partisan group.

McLean County Government

As part of GLT's 2016 Election Coverage, we invited the candidates in contested races to sit for interviews.

Two of the six did not participate in answering questions, some of which were formulated by the League of Women Voters, a non partisan group.

Staff / WGLT

A former political leader and McLean County board member  has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with a false billing scheme against State Farm Insurance.

Matt Sorenson was accused of receiving more than four-hundred-thousand-dollars for consulting work never performed.

Staff / WGLT

Former McLean County Board Chair Matt Sorensen is scheduled for a change of plea hearing Wednesday afternoon in Federal Court in Chicago.

That's according to court records.


A formal request has come for the McLean County Board to consider initiatives to make county government more open and accessible. 

The issue will go to the Rules Committee.

Members Carlo Robustelli and Josh Barnett drove the letter submitted to the board it, but received several other signatures including those of Chuck Erickson, Katherine Metsker, and Victoria Harris.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A group of six McLean County Board members has asked for formal consideration of initiatives they claim would enhance transparency and public involvement in county government.
Signees of a letter to the board include Carlo Robustelli, Chuck Erickson, Josh Barnett, Victoria Harris, Katherine Metsker, and Erik Rankin. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A new state law that took effect in July has the potential to make life more difficult for County Boards across the state.

McLean County Civil Assistant State's Attorney Don Knapp said the law covers budget adjustments and makes it tougher to change the spending plan.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

After an intense and protracted squabble, the McLean County Board approved spending more than $100,000 dollars for a new audio vision system for the county board room.

Opponents argued the matter should be dealt with in the ordinary budgeting process, not as a special or 'emergency' appropriation.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

McLean County government will remain under financial pressure in the next budget year.

County Administrator Bill Wasson has issued a proposal for board review that totals more than 95-million dollars and anticipates further cuts in state funding.

Josh Barnett

New McLean County Board member Josh Barnett said he has already met with all the committee chairs on the board.

Barnett was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Ben Owens.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

McLean County Board members have given a little heat to the building and zoning department over a lack of transparency involving a change to wind farm rules.

And some board members are upset they didn't move up the food chain to chair committees in the wake of the latest shuffle of panel assignments.

Stangboy7 / Wikimedia Commons

A proposed change to rules for siting wind farms in McLean County didn't get very far.

Board member Catherine Metsker took aim at the County Zoning Department for failing to notify townships and cities of the potential change.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Some choices for committee chairs on the McLean County Board caused votes against the package. The Chair's picks for panels usually pass without dissent.

Board member Laurie Wollrab is not fond of Chair John McIntyre's choice of Dave Selzer to head the transportation committee.

McLean County Health Department

The last several weeks have involved a great deal of public turmoil involving a strained relationship between the County Health Department and its Board of Health and the County Board. Investigative efforts by the Bloomington Pantagraph turned up thousands of e-mails among health board members, and Health Department Director Walt Howe with some members of the board scheming to elect their slate of officers friendly to Howe's position.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board has approved an additional 216,000 dollars for the County Clerk to cope with increased administrative demands caused by the same day voter registration law.

The move comes in response to three plus hour wait times at precincts on the campus of Illinois State University during primary voting in March.

McLean County Board Member Owens Resigns

Jun 14, 2016
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Republican Benjamin Owens will resign from his post at the McLean County Board. Owens has represented District 10 on the east side of Bloomington since 2000, but former county Republican Party Vice Chairman Josh Barnett defeated him with over 68% of the vote during the Illinois primary last March.

Owens is Chairman of the Finance Committee and also serves on the Executive and Property Committees. He submitted his Letter of Resignation during an Executive Committee meeting, with plans to leave office June 30.

Jacob DeGeal

The Democratic Party in McLean County has slated a couple County Board candidates for the November election. Jessielee Hinshaw will face GOP incumbent George Wendt in the southwest side district 3. That district tends to favor Republicans.

Hinshaw lives on a farm and works for the Illinois Network for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Hinshaw says in a party news release she wants to focus on transportation infrastructure, government transparency, and mental health services. Hinshaw says the Illinois Policy Institute ranks McLean County low in government transparency.

Charlie Schlenker

The McLean County Republican Party has slated Scott Murphy in the District Two County Board race. urphy is already serving on the board after he was appointed following the resignation of Matt Sorensen.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

It's an election year and pay raises are difficult things to pass when people are on the ballot. So it proved on the McLean County Board when members turned down a two percent pay hike amounting to about ninety eight dollars per year.

Charlie Schlenker / Schlenker

A move to cut the McLean County Coroner's salary by six percent has failed soundly. Outgoing County Board member Ben Owens made the motion, saying new hires in businesses often come in at a lower rate than their predecessors. Owens framed the proposal as a money saving move for taxpayers.

McLean County Considering Fixes For Voting Problems

Apr 26, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A solution to the long wait times and registration issues experienced by voters at Illinois State University's Bone Student Center is still in progress. The McLean County Board Finance Commitee held a special meeting at ISU to address concerns from people in the community.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University students complaining of long lines at the polls last month have a sympathetic ear in a McLean County Board member. During a Finance committee meeting, Erik Rankin echoed Illinois State University students’ frustrations after waiting hours in some cases to vote at the Bone Student Center in last month’s primary.


McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis easily defeated two challengers to win the Republican nomination for Coroner. Davis far out-polled Gary Morefield and Ryan Gibson to win her first elected term. Davis said she is thrilled with the support given her by voters and said she hopes that this was a referendum on professional qualifications for that office holder.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

After the hubbub of abruptly choosing a new County Board Chair, things in McLean County government are getting back to Normal. Charlie Schlenker talks with John McIntyre about how he's settling into his new job and why he picked Scott Murphy to succeed Matt Sorensen in Distrtict 2.

Ralph Weisheit

The new McLean County Board leadership team is in place, Chair John McIntyre and Vice Chair Jim Soeldner. A vote followed the resignation of Chair Matt Sorensen from the board. Sorensen said he needed to avoid distracting the board from his legal troubles. Sorensen faces a five count federal fraud indictment over an alleged false billing scheme that victimized State Farm Insurance.

Sorensen Pleads Not Guilty

Jan 14, 2016
Staff / WGLT

Former McLean County Board Chairman Matt Sorensen has pleaded not guilty to federal wire fraud charges stemming from allegations he participated in a scheme to defraud State Farm of more than $400,000.  After entering his plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Sorensen was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.  

McLean County Government

The scramble for the seat of McLean County Board member Matt Sorensen has already begun. Two Republicans have filed as write in candidates for the March Primary.

Charlie Schlenker

McLean County Board Chairman Matt Sorensen has resigned saying he does not want his legal troubles to be a distraction to the employees and elected officials of the county. Sorensen turned in a letter shortly before a meeting of the County Executive Committee. In it he said it has been a true pleasure to serve the people. Sorensen is under federal fraud indictment over an alleged false billing scheme involving Sorensen's consulting businesses. County Board Vice Chair John McIntyre says the situation is unfortunate.

McLean County Board Chair Matt Sorensen will wait a couple more days for his first court appearance on federal wire fraud charges. He faces five counts related to an alleged false billing scheme to defraud State Farm Insurance. The appearance had been set for Monday but is now slated for Wednesday afternoon. Sorensen's co-defendant Navdeep Arora allegedly gave Sorensen more than $370,000 when Arora was a partner in the consulting firm of McKinsey and Company. Sorensen was an internal consultant at State Farm until 2012, also the year Arora left McKinsey and Company.


Illinois State University Politics and Government Professor Meghan Leonard says the best way to keep the public trust in government is for voters to research candidates thoroughly, hold elected officials accountable, and vote undesirables out of office. She appeared on Sound Ideas with WGLT's Willis Kern.