GOP baton passes in St. Clair County

By Ann Knef | Sep 22, 2005

New: St. Clair County GOP Chairman Bill Zychlewicz

Bill Zychlewicz, first vice-chairman of the St. Clair County Republican Committee, ascended to the organization's top spot following the resignation of Chairman Michael McGlynn on Sept. 13.

Without a vote, McGlynn announced at a regular monthly precinct committeemen meeting that the role was being turned over to Zychlewicz. There were less than 10 people who attended the meeting.

McGlynn, who could not be reached for comment, is the older brother of recently appointed appellate judge Stephen McGlynn.

Zychlewicz, who has asked state party officials to clarify whether a vote is necessary, said an answer has not been immediately forthcoming.

"I will do the right thing," he said. "This can't be such a novel thing that a chairman resigns before the next election."

According to Zychlewicz, a Belleville attorney, the county GOP organization's by-laws stipulate that the second-in charge (vice chairman) ascends in place of a resigning chairman.

His wife, Deirdre, is a downstate coordinator for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady.

"It's like the Phoenix rising in St. Clair County," said Joe Behnken, a former organization chairman. Behnken said the change was made official when he, as the group's treasurer, submitted an amended report (D-1) to the State Board of Elections.

Reshaping apparatus

Zychlewicz said he will propose the organization be run in a more professional manner--by way of an executive board.

"A one-man show doesn't really get the buy-in from all the constituencies," he said. "Most corporations, most successful non-profits, and successful civic organizations are run by a team of professionals."

That type of organizational model would encourage more participation in a group that sorely needs it, he said.

"We're kind of fractionalized," he said. "I'd like to be the mortar that brings together an executive committee."

Behnken said the collective wisdom of an executive board would strengthen the party.

"It spreads the work and spreads the burden," he said. "Every issue would be deliberated.

"There's no reason why we can't use this tried and true method" of governing, Behnken said.

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