Reducing Fiefdoms Is A Slow Process

Pouring cold honey out of a container is a very slow moving process, akin to trying to reduce the number of redundant government entities. That’s what a bill signed last July  by Governor Bruce Rauner is trying to do by requiring Illinois county boards to submit a report identifying opportunities for local governments to consolidate or eliminate wasteful or duplication of services and responsibilities.

This is what Naperville city officials have attempted to do by consolidating the Naperville Township Road department into the City of Naperville road services. The effort has been met with nothing but resistance from the Township Road Supervisor, resulting in court action and a likely binding referendum. That shows the difficulty of well designed intentions of government officials trying to make a positive difference by reducing the number of local governments, which currently numbers close to 7,000 fiefdoms in Illinois; that’s more than any other State.

For many government officials, once in office they don’t want to leave, especially if what they are doing is next to nothing. Naperville city officials should be commended for persistence in making the effort for consolidation. It’s not easy or fun tackling bureaucracy in a tangled web of duplicity, inefficiency, and wastefulness. In fact, it almost seems overwhelming, but anything worth having, is worth working for, even if it is one fiefdom at a time.

Show 2 Comments


  1. Jim Haselhorst

    I have lived in several states before moving to Illinois and this is the only state that has townships. From what I can see these taxing bodies server no purpose other than to create another body of elected officials and thus another political power center. The fact that when the state constitution was rewritten in the 80’s it included verbiage that makes it impossible for voters to eliminate townships, granting this authority only to township officials, seem and acknowledgement that townships server not vital function and thus must be protected since they have no chance of convincing voters they are needed. There are 1,432 townships in Illinois meaning around 20% of this state’s “fiefdoms” are townships. 17 of Illinois 102 counties did decided not to adopt township governments and they operate just fine without them.

    • BD Weiser

      The last time the IL State Constitution was “rewritten” was in 1970 and prior to that 1818, 1848 and 1870. Sorry Jim–wrong again.

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