An Example of Why Cost-Benefit Analysis Is Needed Before Reorganizing Local Government

Mike Shorten

Mike Shorten

Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson

Yesterday I basically lamented that proponents of township consolidation have not presented necessary homework.

Before moving toward a change in governance, one should do a study estimating future costs with future benefits.

Vividly I remember the pitch Governor Pat Quinn made for consolidating school districts.

No more elementary or high school districts, just unit districts.

Quinn said it would save $100 million.

He argued that there would be $100 million in administrative savings because there would be fewer administrators.

The Governor provided no cost-benefit study, yet the Northwest Herald approved the idea.

When I ran the numbers, I found that just for the area covered by Crystal Lake High School District 155, merging the high school and the grade school districts would add over $27 million.

That’s because grade school teachers’ salaries will be equalized up to the much higher high school teachers’ salaries.


There are many more grade school teachers than high school teachers, so they would control the resulting union and the negotiating process.

That $27 million cost increase for us locally eats into Quinn’s $100 million statewide savings figure quite a bit.

Even the Associated Press eventually figured that out.

I’ve often thought that those who advocate reorganization do so to provide the appearance of change.

Often there is no substantive change.

McHenry County's seventeen townships.

McHenry County’s seventeen townships.

So I again ask the township consolidation advocates to provide some numbers that those on the other side or those in the middle can take a look at.

That should be done before the County Board votes to put a referendum on the ballot.

Bob Anderson and Mike Shorten are leaders in the township consolidation movement.


An Example of Why Cost-Benefit Analysis Is Needed Before Reorganizing Local Government — 19 Comments

  1. Another aspect to consider, bigger governments mean more employees which make it more attractive for union business agents to unionize employees.

    So where there was no union with smaller townships, consider the likelihood a union might be formed with a larger township.

  2. In 1988 the State mandated what was referred to as the “School District Reorganization Initiative”,

    Dixie O’Hara, then Superintendent of the Regional Board of Trustees chaired a committee of representatives of each school district in the County.

    After much ado, it was decided that the only savings that might be achieved would be through the consolidation of 2 elementary districts, being Union and Marengo.

    For whatever reason, Riley Elementary did not see fit to consolidate.

    No other changes in the school organizations was considered to be taxpayer friendly.

    There will be no “cost savings” to the taxpayers by a consolidation of high school and elementary districts for many reasons.

    The issue of consolidation of elementary and high school districts was voted upon in the mid-70s, when a small group of disgruntled Cary Elementary residents organized a referendum to consolidate Cary Elementary into a new Unit district including Cary portions of High School District 155.

    The referendum result was overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining the existing school districts.

  3. The main problem with consolidation is going to be the argument that the townships should just merge the salaries of both prior townships into one mega salary structure.

    If the current AL Road Commissioner gets $90K and the current Grafton RC gets $60K, then the new AlGraft Township RC should receive $150K (and his secretary’s salary should get a comparable boost).

    Salaries are approved by the township boards.

    Township boards in the more populous townships are effectively elected at low turnout GOP primaries that are held on the fourth Tuesday every four years in odd numbered years.

    How many people even know there is an election then?

    Turnout in such primaries rarely tops 10% unless there are unrelated tax referenda also on the ballot at that time.

    This is a good opportunity, however, for grass roots conservatives to develop a Get Out The Vote effort to swamp whose low turnout elections and elect township boards who will rein in the new salaries and do an actual analysis of what exactly it is that the township officials do for their salaries.

  4. Fourth Tuesday in February, every four years in odd numbered years.

    Next one, February, 2017.

  5. Paying a merged position the cumulative of the salaries that were merged is rare.

    Typically comparables are used.

  6. The former grade school district teachers would control the merged union.

    They are paid less than the high school teachers.

    They would demand to be paid as much as the high school teachers.

    It’s not hard to predict that the high school teachers would not accept a lower salary.

  7. According to 605 ILCS 5/6-207(a); the compensation of the Road Commissioner is set by the “board of town trustees in districts composed of a single township.”

  8. When two part time Supervisor positions are consolidated into one Supervisor, the job becomes one full time job.

    When two Assessors jobs are converted into one Assessor job, it becomes one full time Assessor job.

    In the rural part of the county this will then create full time jobs with health insurance and a retirement plan where there is none now.

    This is just the opposite of what most large companies are doing.

    They keep jobs part time to eliminate employee benefits.

    I anxiously await the actual figures to show why this is a good idea.

    Representative Franks and the Township Officials of Illinois both studied this concept in the last three years.

    Neither could produce any actual savings.

  9. So Mike W, will you take Cal’s advise and look at numbers and facts before you act on consolidation?

  10. 2014 McHenry County Township Annual Salaries per Open The Books

    Note the disclaimers listed in the Algonquin Township link.

    Where there are no records, for whatever reason, Open The Books did not receive records from that township.

    The point is not that salaries are too high or too low, rather, just to give an idea of the salaries.

    The more lucrative aspect of most public sector employees compensations is the benefits including pensions.

    Those township employees whom are eligible contribute to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension plan.

    IMRF has very generous benefits, although not as generous as the 5 state pension plans (teachers and administrators, university employees, state workers, judges, and legislators), fire, police, and transit.

    Chicago and Cook County pensions are separate from the rest of the state.

    Alden Township – no records

    Algonquin Township

    Burton Township

    Darin T McCleary – $19,000.21

    Chemung Township

    Donald L Staver – $55,202
    Douglas J Hawthorne – $45,072
    Joseph S Staver – $44,553
    Robert K Nystrom – $29,360
    Robert W Dixon – $14,197
    Thomas D Swenson – $9,690
    John M Held – $9,246
    Judith A Koch – $5,558

    Coral Township – No records

    Dorr Township

    Don R Limbaugh – $72,390
    Thomas E Thurman – $70,594
    Nicholas Lechner – S67,628
    Veronica A Myers – $67,051
    Jeremy R Brokaw – $60,493
    Susan J Brokaw – $53,538
    Rebecca A Pender – $40,916
    Robert E Pierce – $39,741
    Judy A Kruse – $25,012
    Gail L Sherman – $17,943
    Tammy Benitez – $2,880

    Dunham Township – No records

    Grafton Township

    Alan D Zielinski – $68,000
    Scott M Gabel – $65,876
    James E Burke – $63,800
    Tom J Poznanski – $59,829
    David G Knutson – $54,400
    Hugo Roldan – $53,790
    Trudy A Jurs – $49,181
    Jennifer J Moore – $47,561
    Martin A Kinczel – $42,423
    James A Kearns – $41,876
    Brian M Bourke – $38,340
    Candice Prince – $26,740
    Richard S Alexander – $20,900
    Richard M Kaszniak – $17,820
    Peter E Jimenez – $10,923
    Kathryn M Francis – $7,427
    Carly J Amettis – $3,240
    Daniel S Knezevich – $3,069

    Greeenwood Township

    Donald Goad – $81,035
    Todd Fruend – $63,345
    Ronnie C Harris – $57,701
    Karen D Roth – $48,695
    Lee M Jurewicz – $39,999
    Matt Reinhart – $39,050
    Randall G Roth – $38,400
    Patricia O’neill – $23,666
    Barbara A Klasen – $19,955
    Colleen M Callahan-Dumais – $17,356
    Robert J Dacy – $11,724
    Kendra E Rishling – $6,999

    Hartland Township – No records

    Hebron Township – no records

    Marengo Township

    Jon J Klick – $70,690
    Jacob T Adamson – $62,405
    John E Adamson – $61,693
    David P Schirmer – $55,538
    Diane T Baltazor – $28,551

    McHenry Township

    Leon H Van Every – $81,437
    Donna A Schaefer – $73,349
    Glenn P Dixon – $71,757
    Mary V Mahady – $70,401
    Dennis J Mcfarlin – $69,595
    Adam C Vick – $59,033
    David A Kattner – $58,902
    Lynell R Limbaugh – $57,812
    Brandon S McCoy – $53,311
    Terrence L Wagner – $51,456
    Deborah L Macrito – $48,180
    Nels P Pedersen – $46,413
    Philip F Grana – $45,018
    Joe P Chavera – $44,226
    Florence Giba- $40,589
    Diann M Helnore – $40,480
    Richard M Kaszniak – $36,120
    Jack A Smith – $35,352
    Kenneth E Bielski – $33,894
    Laurene A Harrington – $33,096
    James J Walters – $32,150
    John W Warneke – $30,672
    Robert A Pepping – $29,562
    Mary C Kulikowski – $28,968
    Christopher M Du-lock – $25,370
    Cody A Kuebler – $20,680
    Kasper Vann – $13,945
    Marsha A Nelson – $13,906
    Sandra C Leone – $12,844
    Eileen Jensen-Maggioncalda – $10,395
    Dana L Heinz – $10,099
    Thomas V Quamme – $7,344
    James A White – $3,922
    Patricia A Dicker – $3,540
    Tammy Benitez – $3,150

    Nunda Township

    Michael A Lesperance – $92,844
    Dennis A Jagla – $81,274
    Kelvin L Jennings – $74,773
    Cory R Scott – $72,695
    Mark S Dzemske – $69,630
    Allen R Rosio – $67,504
    John K Fuller – $62,005
    Joshua M Singer – $61,713
    Gary M Rucker – $56,854
    Eric D Konieczski – $55,538
    Eric R Chesler – $55,399
    Jason M Kolota – $50,761
    Karen M Sawyer – $49,922
    Victor Pearson – $47,516
    Leda Bobera-Drain – $44,624
    Dov H Isaacman – $37,958
    Cathleen M Plodzien – $37,780
    Kelli D Friedlund – $37,641
    Mary A Vaverek – $37,641
    Judith A Clouse – $37,416
    Brian L Bartnick – $37,388
    Casey S Coss – $30,376
    Dennis W Parkin – $30,351
    David C Clinge – $30,265
    Carl R Bernahl – $18,114
    Vijay B Patel – $17,533
    Dennis Tyk – $8,347
    Joseph G Malenke – $7,680
    Anthony S Podkowirow – $7,614
    Michael J Hurst – $6,613
    Donald R Spidle – $4,200
    Bradley W Schuster $1,560
    Donna Kopsell – $1,300
    Mitchell J Hooper – $1,200

    Richmond Township

    Patricia O’neill – $45,999
    Anthony J Stack – $45,440
    Jacob J Stohr – $43,040
    Brad Limbaugh – $34,720
    Mary E Mars – $25,600
    Kelly S Vorisek – $25,445
    Jerome M Thielen – $11,366

    Riley Township

    David Diamond – $43,200
    Janis K Tures – $22,500
    Karen A Schnable – $21,000

    Seneca Township

    Scott A Swanson – $55,999
    Paul Bockman – $25,000

  11. Thanks to Mark for posting the figures.

    You will see that for those townships for which the numbers are available, the salaries tend to correlate with overall township population.

    However, except for the Assessor, population does not necessarily track workloads for the Supervisor and Road Commissioner.

    Workloads for the RC should vary by road miles maintained, with some allowance for greater wear and tear if there is more traffic.

    Workloads for the Supervisor should track the size of the indigent population, which does not tend to increase when more new homes are constructed as the indigent don’t tend to occupy the newer homes.

    Remember, there are only three real functions as per the original Township Code for Supervisors:

    (1) payment of interim pubic assistance (enacted before we had any other forms of public assistance, insurance, workers comp etc.);

    (2) maintenance of township cemeteries (since superseded by the emergence of private cemeteries); and

    (3) acting as treasurer for the Road District (a clerical function being done mostly by staff who are paid in addition to the Supervisor’s salary).

    Also preparing various reports on the above, the agenda for the Board meetings, and chairing the meetings (often adjourned after a half hour).

    In past years Nunda tended to have about two dozen public assistance applications per year and Grafton was in the upper teens.

    Bear in mind that there is usually a staff person that does most of the paperwork associated with these applications so the Supervisor only needs to review the completed forms and interview the applicants.

    This shouldn’t take more than one hour per application.

    What is the Supervisor doing the rest of the month?

    It would be nice if, in advance of any possible township consolidations, the Supervisors could start keeping contemporaneous time records and make those publically available so the new salaries could be properly set.

  12. Walkup is eating retarded sandwiches again!

    No, loon, the salaries won’t be consolidated.

  13. With a mind like Bob Anderson’s taking leadership on this, what could possibly go wrong?

    Maybe he’ll finally get his revenge on the voters who rejected him when he ran unsuccessfully for township office (after his election loss, Bob “suddenly realized” that his life’s mission was to abolish township government)

  14. Mike Walkup: Your ignorance shows! Your comment:

    “(3) acting as treasurer for the Road District (a clerical function being done mostly by staff who are paid in addition to the Supervisor’s salary).”

    You may want to give Preston Rea a call.

    He can set you straight!

    He does maintain all payroll records including writing the pay checks, prepares W’2s, prepares detailed monthly financial statements, pays all the bills for all departments, answers all FOIA reguests, cleans the toilets atc.,

    Insofar as other staff, he has none!!

    You get paid about $32,000 per year for a job which in reality requires you to do nothing.

    You, however can get elected and not attend one meeting with no consequence other than maybe not being re-elected.

    Preston Rea gets paid a lot less and I do believe not preparing someone’s pay check is a violation frowned upon by the courts.

    Preston’s pay check is about one third of yours.

    Interested readers of this blog can view your attendance records here:

  15. One item not mentioned in these Township discussions is the fact that most Townships have Planning Committees (voluntary and unpaid positions) which review applications for zoning changes and applications for conditional uses.

    While they can do absolutely NOTHING – other than give objecting evidence at the ZBA hearings – to stop the County Board from issuing ridiculous Conditional use exceptions, they do educate their fellow residents as to the nature of the requests.

    The committees can FORCE Mr. Walkup and his fellow Board members into a two thirds majority vote for changes in zoning when the Township Board agrees with the committee.

    Do you think the objections to the current application for the creation of a Commercial Enterprise on a Township Road in Coral Township Road were developed in a vacuum?

  16. If I were on the County Board, I would be voting the way those township planning committees recommend.

    It is not right that representatives from populous parts of the county can impose their judgments on the more rural townships.

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