The Lure of Township Office

As I mentioned before, township officials get paid really well.

Especially in comparison to municipal officials.

Not to mention school board, park board and miscellaneous special districts, where there is no compensation except

When Cary School Board member Chris Jenner made his pitch for people to run for local office, however, he didn’t list townships as a government whose officials are up for election next spring.

So, why do people run for public office?

Most of the posts up next spring don’t pay anything.

“Public service” is often mentioned as a reason for running for office and that is undoubtedly a motivation for some, maybe many.

But it was put more crassly by the guy who taught the first campaign school I attended.

I remember he was from the Republican National Committee. Unfortunately, I can’t remember his name.

There were three reasons people run for office, he said, and all started with the letter “P:”

  • Power
  • Prestige
  • Pecuniary

The first two are obvious. I took the last one to mean pay, but, given Chicago’s long history of political corruption, money obviously does not have to be limited to pay.

Looking at just the salaries for Nunda Township, you can see why people might want to hold the offices.

Right now, the pay is

  • Supervisor – $64,350
  • Highway Commissioner – $81,990
  • Assessor – $70,875
  • Clerk – $12,700
  • Trustees – $150 per meeting

But, raises are in the offing for those elected next April.

  • Supervisor – $66,900
  • Highway Commissioner – $85,230
  • Assessor – $73,700
  • Clerk – $13,200
  • Trustees – $156 per meeting

And, they are scheduled to increase about 4% per year.

Incumbent Supervisor John Heisler and Road Commissioner Don Kopsell have picked up petitions to run for re-election.

Already in Nunda Township two people are passing petitions for township assessor. Incumbent Dennis Jagla will be challenged again by Alan Weaver. Weaver ran as an independent in 2005 after Republicans didn’t slate him.

When Walt Romanus died recently a name from past political contests—Dick Meyers—came up as his replacement. He has gotten nominating petitions, as have incumbents Kevin Sarnwick, Jim Schlader (who ran for county board in the GOP primary), Tom Palmer. Lee Jennings, who applied unsuccessfully for the Romanus vacancy, is also gathering signatures.

So far, incumbent Township Clerk Bridgett Provenzano has not picked up a packet of petitions.

Republican Party primaries will be held in Algonquin, Dorr, Grafton, McHenry and Nunda Townships. The Democratic Party has not requested that primaries be held to select candidates in any McHenry County Township.

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The source of my “Three P’s” motivation for running for office?

Republican National Committee campaign veteran Ray Humphreys in a campaign school at Illinois College in Jacksonville.  Humphreys had been a West Virginia state representative, elected in 1950,  and ran for congress in 1936 and 1938.


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