Cronin's quick action the right move
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin promised swift action and he delivered.
The next question is did he go far enough?
On Tuesday, Cronin said of a damaging report on the DuPage Board of Election Commissioners: "In light of these findings and the disturbing policies and practices that continue at the election commission, I am prepared to take swift action."
Two of the three election commissioners were ousted a day later. One remains — for now. Stories this week by Daily Herald staff writer Robert Sanchez revealed the report and chronicled the moves.
"The DuPage Election Commission's stress test raised a number of alarming issues that require immediate attention," Cronin said in replacing commissioners Jeanne McNamara and Charlotte Mushow with two new commissioners. Remaining is Commissioner J.P. "Rick" Carney.
Carney's term ends in January. We're hearing rumblings that some are calling for his resignation now. He already predicted months ago he would not be reappointed. Given the report this week, we agree with his assessment.
The report by county-hired Crowe Horwath LLP said improvements need to be made in the commission's credit card, ethics and procurement policies to safeguard the county's financial assets. It recommends that all existing contracts be reviewed to be sure they were properly awarded.
The consultants reviewed 13 contracts and found 12 that violated the commission's own guidelines. Of those 12, six add up to almost $10 million.
Carney and the other now-former commissioners defended their work this week, saying in a written statement that the report contained "numerous glaring misstatements of fact and misunderstandings of state law."
Yet, Cronin is right not to ignore what the consultants found. He must, as he said, have an election commission beyond reproach.
So it's refreshing to see quick movement in cleaning up what appears to be quite a mess. Last year, Cronin, who was elected in November 2010, vowed to make the hard decisions in cleaning up all the county agencies and commissions after scandals involving the county's housing and water agencies.
He continues to make good on that vow and for that he deserves kudos. We assume he will further clean up the election commission and at least not reappoint Carney come January if Carney does not resign first. There must be responsibility in government and with only three commissioners at the helm of the election commission, all must take responsibility and move on.
Too often we've seen officials hang on to their jobs despite damning evidence that would result in a firing in any other line of work. Scandals at Metra and the University of Illinois come to mind in the last few years. Cronin should be held up as an example of someone trying to do what's right.
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