Study facts about consolidating townships
I wanted to address a few of the points made in the Oct. 2 guest column titled "Consolidations would reduce costs, improve efficiency" from members of the Palatine Area League of Women Voters. It is a convenient argument to make; consolidating units of government because of the allure of efficiency and cost savings, but neither have been proven or studied.
As the column points out, townships are in fact responsible for three primary functions, but this does not fully acknowledge the host of other programs they may provides. Cook County Townships offer a safety net of social services to the most vulnerable members of our community -- the low-income, disabled, seniors and youth; large segments of the population that our state is currently, and historically, failing. Contrary to the belief of the authors, many of these services are not in fact duplicated.
The column also references the "lack of special training" or education required to serve on a township board when in fact generally no local elected office is required to receive special training. This allows all citizens the ability to participate in their government.
The most troubling aspect of the column was the call for the elimination of townships with no proposal as to what government entity would assume the duties and responsibilities, and no proof that services would be delivered more efficiently.
I agree there are townships in Illinois that could be consolidated. I also believe there are park districts, library districts, and special districts that could be merged. Local government reform is a serious topic that needs to be discussed with all the facts. I encourage those wishing to join the conversation of local government consolidation to make an earnest effort to learn and visit the units of government they wish to see abolished.
Brian P. McGuire, Supervisor