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updated: 12/19/2016 9:18 AM

Editorial: DuPage County, election board are building 'new model for government'

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  • DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, left, and county Clerk Paul Hinds talk about a plan to merge the clerk's office with the DuPage Election Commission.

      DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, left, and county Clerk Paul Hinds talk about a plan to merge the clerk's office with the DuPage Election Commission.
    Robert Sanchez photo | Staff Photographer

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Over the last 4½ years, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin's ACT -- Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency -- initiative has eliminated wasteful spending and redundancy in taxing bodies in the county, professionalized smaller units of government with better ethics and procurement policies and even dissolved some units of government whose functions already were being performed elsewhere or could be incorporated easily into existing structures.

Some of that work has been relatively small potatoes, but it is all part of the important work of making our taxing bodies more streamlined and accountable to the people who fund them -- local taxpayers.

For some time now, though, there has been a larger target of the initiative, and it's time for that work to come to fruition.

The DuPage Election Commission, established by state law in 1973 to ensure fair elections, is a sizable arm of government that does what most county clerk's offices already do.

After working to better align the practices and policies of the clerk's office and the election commission, they're to a point at which DuPage County will ask state lawmakers to join the functions of the two bodies under the auspices of the clerk's office, while maintaining the bipartisan board.

"Merging the functions of two county offices that experience a high volume of public inquiries and interactions ... allows for a smoother customer experience, eliminates redundancy and increases efficiency," county board Chairman Dan Cronin was quoted as saying in a story by our Robert Sanchez.

Cathy Ficker Terrill, the chairwoman of the existing election commission board, says the consolidation and creation of a five‐member Board of Election Commissioners -- led by County Clerk Paul Hinds -- "is a great opportunity to look at a new model for better governance."

Much of the savings would come in cross-training employees to handle both the functions of the clerk's office and elections, as most other counties do. Currently, the clerk's office has 18 employees, while the election commission has 24. The biggest savings would come from reducing staff through attrition.

What a wonderful compromise solution to an expensive issue.

Now if only the anachronistic Aurora Election Commission would follow suit. That commission handles elections for the city of Aurora, which lies in Kane, DuPage, Will and Kendall counties, with the exception of its DuPage residents.

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