A dramatic shift in the makeup of the DuPage County Board hasn't changed the goals of its chairman.
Dan Cronin says that having eight new faces on the 18-member county board won't hamper ongoing efforts to increase efficiency, improve transparency and pursue local government consolidation.
"As long as we promote good government, I expect the board members to join me," Cronin said. "I expect that we will continue to be an example of how to collaborate, how to compromise and how to work together to get things done."
The Elmhurst Republican said he wasn't surprised by the results of last week's county board election, which ousted three incumbents. According to unofficial results, the eight new board members are Sam Tornatore, Elizabeth Chaplin, Pete DiCianni, Sean Noonan, Gary Grasso, Amy Grant, Tonia Khouri and Lauren Nowak. They are scheduled to be sworn in on Dec. 3.
Cronin is planning to meet with all of the new members, either individually or in groups, to find out what issues most interest them. He said the individuals he already has spoken with are "very supportive" of the existing board's agenda.
That agenda involves making county government more efficient, more accountable and transparent, Cronin said.
"We've also embarked on this path of seeking consolidation," he added. "That's the path we're on. I invite these new board members to join us. Maybe they've got better ideas about how to go about it. I welcome those ideas."
After DuPage did an analysis of two dozen taxing bodies overseen by boards and commissions that Cronin appoints, the chairman unveiled an initiative aimed at reforming those agencies and making them more transparent. The plan also calls for those agencies to explore consolidation opportunities.
Last month, Cronin said his staff is in the process of drafting legislation for state lawmakers that would allow for the consolidation of some entities in DuPage.
While Cronin hasn't provided details about the proposed legislation, he has mentioned "paper" fire protection districts as something that "just doesn't make sense anymore." Paper districts raise money through property taxes and pay a neighboring fire department to provide fire protection and ambulance services.
Still, Cronin acknowledges that consolidation won't be possible unless it's supported by most of the county board. He also admits it won't be easy to eliminate any of the county's more than 400 taxing bodies.
"But I'm not going to shy away from the tough issues," Cronin said. "We're going to go down this path, and we're going to figure out how to get it done."