Anderson glad to see fate of McHenry Township Road District being put to voters
McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson says he's glad an initiative he has long advocated for, consolidating the McHenry Township Road District into the township, will be on the November ballot, but he says the effect will be felt outside the township's borders.
"The effect will also be statewide, impacting all of Illinois' 7,000 units of governments," Anderson said in an email interview with the McHenry Times. "This will set an example that a grass-roots citizens' effort can be successful in reducing the size and cost of these 7,000 governments. We are taking on 'city hall' the 'little guy against big government.'"
McHenry Township voters will be asked in November if the McHenry Township Road District should be eliminated. If McHenry Township voters approve the referendum, road district duties would be taken over by the McHenry Township supervisor's office.
"This referendum will not only be important to McHenry County residents, it will also have an effect on all of Illinois' 85 counties that have the township form of government," Anderson said. "This proposition will educate the public that a township road district is a completely separate unit of government from the township corporate unit, each with its own taxing authority."
The McHenry Township Board voted 3-2 in February to place the referendum question on the November ballot. Anderson and fellow Trustees Mike Rakestraw and Bill Cunningham voted in favor during the Feb. 9 meeting while Trustees Stan Wojewski and Supervisor Craig Adams voted against.
The vote was a change from a similar vote over the same question during the board's January meeting, except that time Rakestraw voted against.
Anderson, a longtime Wonder Lake resident and owner of Wonder Lake barbershop, is a longtime supporter of consolidating the McHenry Township Road District into the township. Anderson ran for his first term as township trustee in last April's election in part on promises he would work to eliminate or consolidate the township. He first called for the upcoming referendum during the township board meeting in November.
The number of jobs lost should the referendum be approved will be minimal, Anderson said. "The only position that will be lost at this time will be the elected road commissioner," Anderson said.
Anderson long has objected to the position of township road commissioner, presently held by James Condon. The qualifications for the post are that the commissioner be at least 18 years old and a registered voter who lives in the township, Anderson said. "There should be a job description and a title for the person in charge of the budget and hiring and firing of employees," he said.
"In other words, a professional. It's time to rid politics from the road district," Anderson said. "If an appointed person is employed for this position, that person can be given a pink slip for poor performance. Because of politics, once elected, in most situations, the road commissioner has a lifetime job."
Eliminating the road district and its commission would amount to significant savings for taxpayers, Anderson said. "Taxpayer cost savings will come over time after new management takes over," he said.
"The decision for the voters to make will be simple and associated with common sense," Anderson said. " Should a budget of more than $3 million and the hiring and firing of 17 employees be in the hands of a committee of one – the township road commissioner – or in the hands of a committee five – the township board. It's all about oversight."