DuPage voters could be asked about reducing size of county board

  • Mary FitzGerald Ozog

    Mary FitzGerald Ozog

  • Sam Tornatore

    Sam Tornatore

 
 
Posted5/27/2020 5:00 AM

DuPage County voters this fall could be asked to weigh in on whether the county board should eliminate one-third of its seats.

County board members on Tuesday started 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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While no decision was made, board member Jim Healy is recommending an advisory referendum be placed on the November ballot.

"A change like this that affects our residents' representation on this board should be voted on by our residents," the Naperville Republican said.

Healy said the nonbinding ballot question would give the board guidance. Right now, members are divided on whether the size of the board should be reduced.

Board member Mary FitzGerald Ozog says the panel should be reduced by six members because it would save 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.

"I look forward to our bipartisan effort to reduce the cost of our board to taxpayers and to increase the effectiveness of the board for staff and our constituents," Ozog, a Glen Ellyn Democrat, wrote Tuesday in an email to board Chairman Dan Cronin.

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Cronin says he long has believed it's unnecessary to have three board members representing each of the county's six districts. Having two board members per district would make them more accountable, he said.

But several board members are questioning whether it's a good idea to have only two representatives per district.

The three District 1 board members -- Addison Democrat Ashley Selmon, Roselle Republican Sam Tornatore and Addison Republican Don Puchalski -- said they have worked well together on several issues in their district, which includes all or portions of Addison, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Elmhurst, Glendale Heights, Itasca, Lombard, Roselle, Villa Park and Wood Dale.

Tornatore said eliminating board seats won't reduce the amount of work that must be done, including fielding phone calls from residents.

"What's best for the taxpayers?" Tornatore said. "Are they going to be better served with two people in District 1 as opposed to three? I think the answer is no. They won't be."

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