A push is on to abolish DuPage County's forest board

A suburban lawmaker says she wants to eliminate the DuPage County Forest Board, a push that comes weeks after Gov. Bruce Rauner pointed to the county as a potential model of how to consolidate government.

State Rep. Deb Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat, filed legislation to give the board's duties to the DuPage County Board, at what she says would be an annual savings of $500,000 per year.

Conroy previously proposed asking voters whether to take away the seven board members' salaries but said the renewed effort is about saving money. It's not personal, she said.

“It's not about them in any way, shape or form,” she said.

Forest preserve President Joseph Cantore wasn't immediately available to comment. The last time the idea came up, then-President Dewey Pierotti said the state, facing its own serious financial problems, should mind its own business.

Earlier this month, Rauner made the consolidation of local governments a highlight of his agenda, and he put two DuPage County Republicans — County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti — in charge of that effort.

State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat, says she's on board.

“If most counties in the state can manage their forest preserves within county government, DuPage County can do the same.” she said in a statement.

Conroy's previous proposal regarding the forest preserve board salaries was rejected by the Illinois House.

Consolidating government can be a politically tricky undertaking as lawmakers try to balance their efforts to save money with loyalty to local officials and their interests.

State lawmakers approved a plan to give DuPage County leaders the ability to eliminate a selection of local governments, but that didn't include the forest board.

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Voters can’t try to eliminate DuPage forest board salaries

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Ex-DuPage County forest boss lands job in Ohio

Cantore focused on the future of DuPage forest preserve

  Joseph Cantore, president of the DuPage County Forest Preserve board. Daniel White/
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