Two DuPage election commissioners replaced
Cronin replaces two-thirds of panel after report raises issues with way business is done
Two members of the DuPage Board of Election Commissioners have lost their jobs in the wake of a report critical of the commission's practices and policies.
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin announced Wednesday that he has replaced Jeanne McNamara and Charlotte Mushow on the three-person panel.
The two new members are Cathy Ficker Terrill, an Elmhurst Republican, and West Chicago Democrat Art Ludwig.
"The DuPage Election Commission's stress test raised a number of alarming issues that require immediate attention," Cronin said of a report by the consulting firm of Crowe Horwath LLC.
The Crowe Horwath report, funded by the county, concludes that improvements must be made to the commission's credit card, ethics and procurement policies.
The consultants, for example, found that the agency failed to follow its own guidelines in 12 of 13 contracts it awarded.
"I am concerned that several of the internal practices at the commission fall short of basic good government principles that should be exercised at any public entity," Cronin said in a written statement.
The county board chairman has the power to appoint members to the election commission, which was formed in 1974.
State law requires both political parties be represented, but Republicans hold two of the three seats.
Cronin was able to replace McNamara and Mushow immediately because both women had been serving on expired terms.
McNamara, a Democrat first appointed to the board in 1976, was the commission's longest-serving member.
Mushow, a Republican, had served on the board since 1999.
"I am obligated to the taxpayers to take this matter very seriously," said Cronin, adding that he wants the commission to set "the highest standards" for election agencies to emulate.
"We cannot implement meaningful reforms without the help of the election commission, which is why I have chosen Cathy and Art to serve on the board," Cronin said. "I have the utmost confidence in their ability and willingness to take on the challenges at the election commission."
Terrill recently served as interim executive director of the DuPage Housing Authority. She was appointed to that position last year by Cronin after the release of three federal audits identifying financial mismanagement.
Terrill now is the chief executive officer of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois Chicago and Elmhurst College.
"Cathy has a great track record of being able to identify issues and helping to put plans in place to move forward," county board member Jeff Redick said. "Based on what the Crowe report presented, that's exactly what we're looking for.
"I have every confidence that these new commissioners will get the election commission moving in the right direction."
County officials said Ludwig has spent much of his professional career working for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the state of Illinois. He is the assistant vice president of Union Labor Life Insurance.
"I look forward to the task," Ludwig said of becoming an election commissioner. "I am very pleased to be working with Chairman Cronin."
The third member of the commission, J.P. "Rick" Carney, is serving a term that ends in January. The Wheaton Republican, who has been on the commission since 2005, didn't return telephone messages on Wednesday.
DuPage is unique in Illinois with a countywide election commission. As part of its responsibilities, the commission organizes, executes and documents all of the elections occurring within its boundaries.
Election commissioners are paid $27,500 a year. McNamara and Mushow also received health insurance. Carney doesn't get health insurance through the commission and eliminated that perk for future members after he joined the board.
Carney ended pension benefits for commissioners in November 2005, but McNamara will get a pension.