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posted: 8/24/2012 3:50 PM

Referendum not on Wauconda Township ballot

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Wauconda Township voters will not be asked to decide if the township supervisor, assessor and road commissioner should pay 85 percent of their state-supported benefits out of their own pocket.

Residents decided during a special township meeting Thursday night that a nonbinding referendum question on the issue should be not put on any election ballot as written.

Michael Hennessy, who called for the special meeting on the proposal, said most of the 98 attendees supported the idea, but voted against the question because the wording was too confusing.

"The question we had drafted up for the ballot just wasn't clear," Hennessey said Friday. "The vast majority of people seemed to favor the idea, but they spoke against it because it was too confusing."

The question they voted on read: "Shall Wauconda Township provide funding (to exceed 15 percent of cost) for retirement benefits, health, dental and life insurance for the elected officials."

Wauconda Township Supervisor Glenn Swanson agreed the question was confusing, but said even if the measure passed, it was a nonbinding referendum.

"The salary in place is set for 2013 until 2017," Swanson said. "People elected a township board to make personnel and policy decisions like this. It has no validity to be on the ballot."

Even if the question had been approved Thursday, it would have been too late for it to appear on the November ballot, Swanson said. Because it would take another month for the township board to verify Thursday's electorate decision, the referendum would not have appeared on an election ballot until spring 2013.

Monday, Aug. 20 was the deadline for the board to adopt a resolution to place a referendum on the November ballot.

Hennessey said he has pushed for the referendum for about a year because he feels having three full-time paid employees at a township is a waste of money.

"Townships were created long before villages were created and started governing unincorporated areas," he said.

Hennessy said it's unknown at this time if he will try to place a revised question on the April 2013 ballot.

"If it's not me, I'm sure a group somewhere will step up to do it," he said. "Right now, I'm just looking to review what we did and go from there."

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