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updated: 10/3/2017 2:32 PM

Lester: Maine Township trustee outraged expenses cost more than aid

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  • Maine Township Trustee Susan Sweeney says the township is spending too much on salaries and not enough on aid for the poor.

    Maine Township Trustee Susan Sweeney says the township is spending too much on salaries and not enough on aid for the poor.

 
 

A Maine Township trustee is criticizing administrative costs for a program for the poor that are more than three times the amount of aid actually provided to needy residents.

"I think it's an outrage," says Trustee Susan Sweeney, a Park Ridge Republican and unsuccessful 2012 candidate for state representative.

In 2016, Maine Township spent $678,583 on administrative expenses from its general assistance fund and $196,101 on grants and services including mental health services, domestic violence prevention programs and meals for seniors.

By comparison, Hanover Township spent $173,151 on administrative expenses and $191,289 on services and grants. Niles Township spent $102,015 on administrative expenses and $249,654 on services and grants. But Addison Township in DuPage County spent $239,976 on administrative expenses and $35,732 on services and grants.

Less overhead, more services

General assistance is one of three main responsibilities of township government, along with property assessment and road and bridge maintenance. Most townships collect a property tax specifically to provide aid.

The issue was raised after my Daily Herald colleague Chacour Koop reported last month that Maine Township Supervisor Laura Morask hired a political ally for a new $30,000 part-time fundraising position for the township food pantry without conducting a job search.

"I want the township to provide help to people in need," Sweeney said. "It's ludicrous to think we can continue to hire."

Morask did not return calls seeking comment.

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