This is not the first time that I have wondered why folks are putting so much effort into getting township consolidation referendums on the ballot.
It seems to me that none of the smaller townships will end up with majorities that will agree to merge their township with a neighboring township that is larger.
Maybe some will vote to merge with a similar-sized township, but I doubt it.
After reading the only two letters in the Northwest Herald on Friday and letting that percolate for a day or so, I came up with a possible motivation for the consolidation movement.
One letter was from Gregory Walker of Lake in the Hills.
It attacks the Bob Miller family for income received from Algonquin Township, plus quotes township consolidation leader Mike Shorten’s claim that $40 million could be saved over ten years.
It also notes Coral Township Supervisor Roger Naylor’s accurate complaint that no cost-benefit study has been performed.
The irony of Mr. Walker’s letter is that Algonquin Township is the largest township in McHenry County and unlikely to be merged with another.
The second letter takes a similar theme.
The NWH has headlined it, “The family business.”
By Judi Szilak, who spoke about the abuses of patronage in McHenry County when she spoke to the County’s Township Consolidation Task Force, buy did not mention the Millers to the best of my recollection, attacks “cronyism and nepotism.”
As at the meeting, she attacked the new County Clerk for hiring her husband and the new County Sheriff for hiring people from outside of McHenry County.
She also takes a whack at those attending the Task Force meeting.
It “was full of friends and family with generations of family officeholders,” she wrote.
So what did these letters bring to mind.
If the consolidation referendums are going to fail, why hold them?
I think it is to provide nine months of negative publicity for township government with the ultimate goal of convincing a required 75% of the McHenry County electorate to vote to abolish township government in some future election.
Why else would politically savvy people be spending their time getting referendums on the ballot which have so close to zero a chance of resulting in merger of any townships?
Please share your thoughts on the motivation of those pushing the idea of township consolidation.
Remember for consolidation to take place approval of each of the townships to be merged is required.
So far no resident of one of the rural townships has spoken up in favor of merging with a neighboring township.
The only resident to speak from that part of the county was Pat Kennedy of Dunham Township.
She expressed satisfaction with the way her township was run.