DuPage chairman lays out plan for reforming appointed boards
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:11AM
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin has come up with a plan to reform independent county agencies that aims for greater accountability and efficiencies in local government.
Cronin’s office announced the DuPage Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency Initiative, describing it as a road map to guide agencies toward better compliance with county policies. The proposal is the culmination of a recent $85,000 scrutiny of two dozen appointed advisory bodies aimed at ferreting out inconsistencies, inefficiencies and redundancies within the non-elected taxing bodies.
The process revealed problems at the DuPage Election Commission that triggered a replacement of the entire three-member board.
“The recent assessments served as a discovery process to determine the health and future viability of the organizations,” Cronin said in a press release. “What we found is that while the concept of independence has value, it can also foster a climate of inefficiency and unaccountability. Now that we have a better understanding of these agencies, it is imperative that we work together to make them more accountable, more transparent and more efficient.”
While some of the agencies studied provide basic services such as fire, water, sanitation, health and emergency services, others have narrower focus, such as mosquito abatement and street lighting. The agencies account for a total of nearly $300 million in annual spending of public funds and employ between 850-900 people.
The reform initiative calls on agencies to increase their accountability by aligning their procurement and ethics policies with the county’s; imposing a ban on the use of credit cards; and providing the county with salary and benefit policies to disclose general compensation practices and ensure compensation meets current market standards.
Cronin also recommends consolidation and shared services, including information technology, human resources, procurement and finance between county sister agencies such as the Election Commission, Board of Health, Housing Authority, Emergency Telephone System Board and Sheriff’s Merit Commission, and DuPage County departments; partnering with the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference Fire Services Stakeholders group to determine areas to share services or consolidate with other entities; establishing a master contract with providers or consolidating into other local entities for mosquito abatement services; and forming a coalition of all sanitary districts to explore consolidation of facilities, shared services or the transfer of duties to other jurisdictions.
For more information about the initiative, go to www.dupageco.org.