Ersel Schuster Defends State Rep. Steve Reick’s Bill Requiring Cost-Benefit Study Before a Township’s Highway Commissioners Abolished

From McHenry County Board candidate Ersel Schuster:

Taxpayer to Taxpayer

After reading the “thumbs down” opinion (12/23/17 NW Herald), it would be difficult to conclude this is nothing more than a calculated put-down of Rep. Reich’s amendment HB 4160, an amendment to HB 607.

HB 607, an amendment to the Township Code, makes it easier to eliminate the position of Township Road Commissioner and assigns those duties to the Town Board of Trustees.

While HB 607, a political move, should never have been proposed in the first place, HB 4160 at the very least, makes it less dangerous to taxpayers by requiring the Township Board of Trustees to commission a study defining the financial pros/cons before taking the question to the voters.

As one taxpayer to another, and after decades of putting up with legislators, would-be politicians, those with an ax to grind, and the media dumping on township government, it is time to speak up.

State wide, the majority of the 1428 townships represent a population outside municipal boundaries; yet, it is often those within municipal/village boundaries who carry the majority vote affecting rural residents where the most responsive and cost-effective government is the township.

Anti-township advocates deliberately agitate and target these urban populations as their voter base.

While errant, or miss-guided public bodies abound; here in McHenry County, Algonquin Township is the current poster-child for how not to conduct the publics’ business.

In this case, and from all indications it was more likely than not the prior Board of Trustees may have been derelict in their duties of financial oversight.

As with any public entity, this mess now rests in the hands of the current Board.

Algonquin Trustees, it is time to get serious!

Grow a spine.

Collect/gather the information in dispute; reach out to an arbitrator to settle disagreements; then, where appropriate, turn the information over the proper authorities.

Your actions have unintended consequences that affect needed services for ever resident in the other 1427 townships.

As the current poster-boys/girls, your actions are being exploited by state legislators to distract from their own financial and mismanagement issues; so too with the McHenry County Board as they seek to take the county down the same rat-hole as the state by playing their smoke & mirrors pretense of having reduced the county levy for 2018.

Consolidation of any government entities can and should be the sole right of those within the boundaries of that entity.

With that right, there must be detailed evidence that any constructive changes to the entity would be in the best interest of the public. HB 4160 amends HB 607, and accomplishes this purpose.

Politicians, objectors, and media would do well to be cognizant of the implications, cost, disruption and unintended consequences of their own duties and responsibilities as it relates to the public affected by their rash actions.


Ersel Schuster Defends State Rep. Steve Reick’s Bill Requiring Cost-Benefit Study Before a Township’s Highway Commissioners Abolished — 33 Comments

  1. While I could counter, one by one, the ways HB607 could actually save taxpayers and increase quality of service by eliminating a Road District as a separate entitity, thereby providing board oversight, increased accountability of the ‘Highway Commissioner” role, prevention of misconduct, etc…I will focus on one sentence which sticks out like a sore thumb:

    Mrs. Schuster states: “Consolidation of any government entities can and should be the sole right of those within the boundaries of that entity.”

    If the sole voters on a referendum to eliminate Road Districts were to lie only with the property owners on township-maintained roads (of which I am one), the rest of the Township residents would be directly denied their right to vote on an issue for which they pay taxes. Is this not the very definition of taxation without representation?

    IF by “boundaries of that entity” you actually mean all 80K+ residents of Algonquin Township and its Road District, then I agree. All those who pay taxes for Algonquin Township Road District should have a vote.

  2. Rachael what’s the hold up on the millers thievery and ALL the trustees (aka puppets) that did not do there 30 min job per month

    What a joke keep digging unless??????

  3. I would love to hear all of these ways it would increase quality of service.

    Abolishing the road district and getting rid of the highway commissioner is a bad idea.

    Claiming a savings on money because roads will not be getting paved like they should projects will go undone and all of these trustees will be claiming they saved all of this money.

    But when the roads start to deteriorate and projects go undone new equipment isn’t purchased the time will come when we have all crappy roads a bunch of old crappy equipment and all of it is going to cost a ton of money and then who is accountable?

    Your idea is flawed the trustees want control they don’t have it and Sweeney’s bill will give them just that control.

  4. Change of this magnitude needs to be incrementally I would be for initially eliminating township government inside municipal all boarders; see how that works.

    This would eliminate duplicate taxation and services.

    Keep townships where they are supposed to be needed not in city municipalities.

  5. Change of this magnitude needs to be incremental.

    I would be for initially eliminating township government inside all municipal boundaries and see how that works.

    Keep township government where they were suppose to be located.

  6. Your comments on this blog are meaningless!!

    The taxing bodies for all roads is levied from the highway department at the township and distributed to the municipalities so you are not double taxed by any means.

    Furthermore, taxing without representation is not an issue except if we were to do as you say and let the municipalities decide for the unincorpated people.

    People who live in city limits should have no say to what I want in my unincorated area.

    If you want to abolish anything there should be a study to show the consequences why don’t you start there.

  7. Hit the nail right on the head josey.

    Money collected from the township does get distributed to municipalities.

    But people riding the abolish train don’t want the average person to know that because their arguments make no sense if you have all the facts

  8. Just another duplicated layer of government and politicians protecting their own.

  9. Why collect it if you are going to distribute it back?

    Makes no sense unless you’re skimming something during the process.

    7000 taxing bodies need to be reduced!

    Other states do it with less units of government we can as well.

  10. Imagine, for a moment, an Algonquin Township Highway Department whose ‘Highway Commissioner” is selected and hired based upon qualifications, experience, and capability–as opposed to being elected.

    Said employee would be responsible for leading the existing Road District employees (now Township employees) in performing the exact same services already provided.

    Now accountable to the Township and its board, there could be appropriate oversight into the department’s hiring (enacting ethical hiring policies for example) and spending, with the advice of a competent, qualified person leading that department, much like the Assessor’s office functions now. The only difference could be that the head of the Highway Department now has an incentive to perform because it is a hired, rather than elected position.
    These are all *potential* outcomes of a referendum to allow the Township to absorb the Road District.

    Of course, the above scenario depends upon a board willing and able to put in the cooperative work to make dynamic changes and enact policies and framework to make it happen.

    Therein lies the rub.

  11. It’s not all the money collected from property in municipalities.

    I believe it is half of that collected for the Township Road and Bridge Funds.

  12. So mcsweeney backs gasser then uses the same guy he backed for a position as a poster boy for what’s wrong with townships what a joke.

    None of these trustees work together so what would giving the oversight over a highway commissioner do?

  13. Look at all the “townies” here.

    This is hilarious.

    I love how Trustee Lawrence bitch slaps gasser without ever mentioning his name.

    Are you saying that gasser isn’t qualified?

    Are you saying gasser is burning the township into the ground?


    Poor gasbagger.

    Man this is why people do not get involved with politics.

  14. It is amazing to watch how the political power ebbs and flows.

    One moment Trustee Lawrence cannot link herself enough with Andrew and the next moment she knifes him.

    We elected Andrew because we knew the mess Bob Miller left and frankly no one had the guts to run against Bob.

    Andrew has done an amazing job with the hand he was dealt.

    Last I checked the roads look great, construction projects are getting done, and anyone outside of Lake Killarny and Dennis Avenue actually like Andrew.

    I remember when Rachael, Andrew, and Scott knocked on my door and asked for my vote.

    Andrew Gasser’s victory was the best thing to happen to this county in a long time.

    Couple this with the John Reinert fiasco and you can see why we need real leaders like Andrew Gasser.

    Voter fraud, backroom politics, family deals, and unethical purchases have been a mainstay of Tryon, Althoff, Miller, and the old guard.

    We have some great people here in the pipeline and its a shame when one of them trashes someone like Andrew Gasser for their own gain.

    Andrew is principled and steadfast.

    He doesn’t crack under pressure.

    How many other politicians have called out the Northwest Herald?

    How many other politicians have not only talked about cutting taxes but have actually done so?

    How many politicians have actually accomplished something?

    Everyday we login to this blog and see how the old guard keeps beating the drum about Andrew Gasser and it is so disappointing when people like Lawrence dismiss him once they don’t have a use for him anymore.

    There is even an Andrew Gasser hate group on Facebook that try to micromanage every decision he makes.

  15. In actuality, my statements were more directed at preventing the recurrence of previous “indiscretions” than current.

    As you’ll notice I never mentioned Andrew Gasser’s name, and even IF a board resolution and referendum are passed, any changes would not even take effect until after Andrew Gasser’s term.

    Not everything in this world is political, Lorax.

    Sometimes it’s just about better government.

  16. Rachael, let’s call a spade a spade. You’re only in office because of Gasser!

    You claimed to be a part of the Algonquin clean-up crew. Suddenly Gasser is a one-man show. What happened to you?

    You want to help with “better government”? How bout you help finish the task you said you’d help to achieve?

    The real work is underway and suddenly it seems you’ve lost your way.

    Typical, all talk, turncoat politician.

  17. These comments are sure going off the rails here. I think the biggest issue with highway commissioners is the lack of oversight.

    Miller is a prime example of that as we’re seeing it played out.

    One things for sure, something needs to change, or things like this will keep happening.

    Does it need to be as drastic as dissolving in to the township? I’m not sure about that, but they shouldn’t be given a free pass to do what they want either.

    Not sure why you guys are thinking this is an attack on Gasser, but I’d like to think he’d be on board with checks and balances with a position that has too much power if he’s really for the taxpayers and against the type of behavior that went on during the previous administration.

  18. Is it true that the State of Illinois determined that when a municipality annexes a township owned road (in all or in part) into the municipality, the township must start handing over to the municipality the property tax it collects for that piece of road?

  19. To start, Reick’s bill is HB4190 NOT HB4160 and here is how it reads: “Amends the Illinois Highway Code. Provides that before a township may submit a proposition or referendum to abolish a road district under the Code, the township shall prepare, through an independent entity, a cost study demonstrating that the abolishment is cost efficient and that the township is capable of carrying out its required duties and responsibilities on the date of abolishment. Defines “independent entity”. Effective January 1, 2019.

    IMHO this bill is useless. “Figures don’t lie but liars can figure”.

    The bottom line is that the Legislators in Springfield (which included Franks and Althoff for many years) have turned the position of Township Highway Commissioner into a dictatorship with zero oversight other than an election every four years.

    We must change this. Taxpayers used to have input at the annual Township meeting relative to the agenda for the meeting and had to vote on the disposal of highway capital items. The annual meeting was neutered by Springfield and has become a total facade.

    The quickest way to rein in the dictator position of Highway Commissioner is to eliminate it by placing that function under the control of the Board of Trustees. Reick’s bill does absolutely nothing but give window dressing to the elimination of the position.

    Where in Reick’s bill is the following addressed?: “there must be detailed evidence that any constructive changes to the entity would be in the best interest of the public”. There is nothing that describes the required process or provides any penalty for creating BS justifications.

    Now, if the Reick bill would include the following I would support it: Once the study is completed, the referendum is successful AND THE TOWNSHIP DOES NOT ACHIEVE THE SAVINGS SHOWN BY THE STUDY, the entire Board of Trustees, the Clerk and the Supervisor will be on the ballot at the next available election regardless of when their term ends. Forget about a recall process, just hold a new election a.s.a.p.
    Determination of pass or fail on the savings would occur when the annual report is filed with the State of Illinois.

  20. I doubt Lima Beans has ever attended an Algonquin Township meeting.

    The ones I have attended Rachael asks good questions and was the one that discovered a Clerk’s vendor was overcharging by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

  21. Lima Bean, if you wan to call a spade a spade then you should admit that Gasser isnt even in office because of Gasser. Gasser is in office because of Miller. nobody voted for him, they voted against Miller. and I didnt vote for Lawrence because of Gasser, i voted for her because she wasnt a Miller groupie. About the bill, i have one question. All the pro township people say its so irreplaceable, closest to the people crap. But, if thats right then why are they forcing the people to jump thru hoops to vote on it? One minute the people of the township knows best and the next minute the people of the township dont know whats best for themselves, so pick one.

  22. Ersel,

    I think you are great and I’m still going to proudly vote for you for County Board, but I think you are dead wrong in this instance.

    The Illinois General Assembly has turned the Road Commissioner’s Office into an unaccountable monster, and it needs to go bye bye.

    There is no good purpose served by having two township level taxing districts, with one of them basically being unaccountable to the other.

    I know Algonquin Township is something of an anomaly, but the current structure of the law makes it possible for something similar to spring up anywhere.

  23. Local 150 is behind the Proposal to have a stopgap to prevent the people from making a decision on how our government is going to function. With the alleged uncertainty of the consultant report nobody will ever pay for getting it done and the unions will ring the cash register again and again.

  24. Apparently there is some confusion.

    I have no problem with the voters making such decisions. In fact it should hold true for all levels of government.

    The problem we have is that someone gets a burr under his/her saddle and then flies off in all directions.

    It is the taxpayers who pay for this impulsiveness.

    HB 4190 simply puts in place a method for proving the results of such a referendum would not end with triple costs and with little to no service for rural residents.

    It is irresponsible to tell taxpayers: vote for a proposal… then we can find out how it works.

    Many of us have been through this when Mr. Anderson cavalierly place a referendum on the ballot to abolish all townships… period.

    There was no pro/con discussion and no rationale for the action except to “get back” at a township official he was fighting with. If I recall correctly, that went down 3 to 1.

    No dollars and sense rationale; and, no plan for other governments to take over the services.

    Just get the proposal on the ballot then kick up some headlines supporting the proposal. Never mind that the vast majority of those expected to vote on the proposal had no hard facts to base their votes on.

    Looks like we will have the first test as McHenry Township is set for a vote to eliminate that road commissioner position.

    Fat chance the services will be better or less expensive if voters approve that referendum.

    The only bright spot is that only McHenry Township residents will be affected by THEIR actions.

  25. Ersel,

    All I’m seeing is you using scare tactics to defend HB4190.

    Are you ok with Highway Commissioners having as much power as they do?

    The argument that services will be reduced is ridiculous. You’d still have someone in charge of roads and they’d still get taken care of.

    Lets face it. This bill won’t save much, if any money in townships where they have a Commissioner that doesn’t abuse their power, but it does provide a checks & balance system and will take away the dictatorship of the Hwy Czar.

    Here’s the bill HB607

  26. The whole purpose of this bill is to make it more difficult and costly to get rid of road districts.

    Not only would the study cost money, but the Highway Commissioner would probably sue if he didn’t like the results, and the taxpayers would end up footing the legal bills for both sides.

    It would be quite simple for a township to hire an administrator for the same salary that their Highway Commissioner is currently making, and change nothing else – there are plenty of recently retired MCDOT, IDOT, and municipal employees who would be qualified.

    That would be a break even proposition at the very least, because the Township would gain additional oversight over hiring and spending decisions.

    Presumably, the Township Trustees would balk at paying $90k/year for an administrative assistant who is currently married to the Highway Commissioner, and they might even look at the credit card receipts a little more closely.

  27. Folks… cool it!

    Read the article again. I take the township to task pretty hard and I have no patience for any of may be happening in this case. I would say that whether it was for any municipality, the county or other gov. agency.

    “Scare tactic?” That is a red-herring and you know it.

    Frankly, facts are not scare tactic and have a funny way of clearing the air, enabling people to make good decisions when asked.

    Why would anyone complain about, or deny, putting the facts out for the public? This should be a requirement for those asking for the referendum.

    A couple of years ago, those proposing the elimination of townships (via a “special” committee of county officials) were challenged to support their claims of reducing redundancy and great savings by eliminating townships.

    They could not do so and walked away from the table.

    In making these challenges, all these folks need to do is provide support for their claims and make that information available to the public.

    Why is that so difficult to understand.

  28. Bravo Ersel.
    See the NWH columnist section for a Jack lip service today.

  29. I think the only qualification to be a Township road Commissioner is to be able to drive a truck legally.they sure as heck don’t have to be a civil engineer.

  30. The article from Franks is a hoot.

    It takes some real gall for him to complain about proposed legislation being undemocratic, considering his veto session bill to usurp most of the power from the County Board.

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