Bipartisan group seeks to reduce size of DuPage County Board
A bipartisan group of DuPage County Board members wants to consider eliminating one-third of the panel's seats to save money.
County board member Mary FitzGerald Ozog has asked board Chairman Dan Cronin to schedule a discussion about reducing the size of the board from 18 to 12 members. If approved, the change would take effect by the 2022 election, when all board seats will be up because of redistricting after the 2020 Census.
"We are anticipating what will probably be several difficult budget years (because of costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic)," Ozog, a Glen Ellyn Democrat, wrote in an email to Cronin.
Ozog said reducing the board by six members will give taxpayers "a significant savings" of more than $312,000 in annual salaries. Each board member is paid $52,102 annually and can receive health and dental insurance through the county.
Streamlining the board also can make it easier for constituents to contact their representatives, Ozog said.
"It's a good idea," Ozog said Tuesday. "I think we need to have this discussion."
Other board members who signed on to Ozog's request are Democrats Elizabeth Chaplin of Downers Grove, Dawn DeSart of Aurora, Julie Renehan of Hinsdale and Sheila Rutledge of West Chicago, and Downers Grove Republican Brian Krajewski.
Cronin said he's planning to put the topic on next week's board agenda.
Cronin said he long has believed it's unnecessary to have three board members representing each of the county's six districts. He said having two board members per district would make them more accountable.
"There's a greater chance people will know who their two (district representatives) are," Cronin said. "And if you have one county board member up every election -- you rotate back and forth -- I think it leads to more accountability."
Before being elected board chairman in 2010, Cronin talked about shrinking the size of the board. But he said board members didn't want to consider a proposal at that time.
He said he's pleased members on both sides of the political aisle are interested now.
"This is an issue that's been near and dear to me for a long time," Cronin said. "We will pursue it according to the rules in the law."