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Evanston aldermen have approved seeking proposals from consultants to conduct a management audit designed to find ways to increase efficiencies and reduce the cost of township government.

The approval came at Wednesday night’s Human Services Committee meeting, despite an admission by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz that he’s not sure how much the study will cost.

“There are not a lot of firms that would have the expertise to understand the Illinois township system,” Bobkiewicz said, “and we want to make sure that whatever information the report brings back is worthwile and meaningful.”

The city manager said that cost figures for the study would be determined based on the responses from consultants to the request for proposals and that aldermen, sitting as the town board, would have the opportunity to call off the study if it ended up appearing to be too expensive.

Bobkiewicz has estimated that the township budget, which now totals about $1.5 million a year, could be trimmed by $300,000 to $400,000 if the city took over the delivery of township services.

The vote comes the same week the head of the watchdog Better Government Association argued that townships “are a relic from the horse-and-buggy era” that probably should be abolished.

And a new report from the Census Bureau confirms that Illinois retains its ranking as the state with more units of local government than any other state in the nation.

That’s 6,968 governmental units, compared to 4,905 in the second-ranked state, Pennsylvania.

Only 20 states have townships, and Illinoois has 1,400 of them.

In an advisory referendum in March, Evanston residents voted 2-1 in favor of abolishing the township, but lobbyists in Springfield for township governments have blocked legislation that would let residents take a binding vote on the issue.

Assuming the project stays on track, Bobkiewicz says he hopes to have the consultant’s final report by mid-November.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Another worthless study using our tax dollars?

    Wally how about an audit of the captial projects your staff runs, at mid year budget your staff had only spent 3 million dollars out of a 40 million dollar budget.  Looks like a big problem to me, how well are you at running capital projects?

    Wally hoiw about an audit of the yard waste stickers mess which has cost Evan ston taxpayers 1.4 million dollars in increased taxes? How  well do you run your city departments?

    How about an aduit of how you are misusing taxpayers money on the new clinic you plan to put in the civic center and charge one dollar rent? You and the mayor claim not one dime of taxpayers money is being used, I think an audits in order to find out the truth?  How honest is the city in its use of tax payers money, appears the books are use to hide expenses?

    The township I assume has an audit done by a group similar to the city, ofcourse if its similar we get the same results, that is take a look at who signs the audit,  The accounting firm at the city does not ever sign the audit it appears a secretary writes in the name of the firm, it appears no one takes any real responsibility.

    What is the purpose of this audit?  Wally lets audit your staff's use of over $130,000 in credit card charges they ring up every month.  Is this a sound practice to give out over 100 credit cards to staff members, to use every month?

    I forget can we audit the council members expenses for the unnecessary trip to Washington?  The city did not even track its own expenses in an realistic manner?

    This audit in my mind is politcal, and a waste of money, The township may not be run well, but pretrending you are going to make it run better, with the mess at the city, appears to me to joke.

    This appears to be about control and not the public interest, as we all know the council misuse township funds to pay for social services township clients don't use. This about the council wanting to take the funds for their own agendas and use, and with not any real concern for the township's clients.

    As far as Wally's $400,000., savings he claims for the township, Wally record of producing real cost saving is questionable and more politcal motivated to serve his masters wishes, than to serve the  taxpayers in all  too many cases.

    How is city staff going to run the township any better, when they have problems running the city? Ofcourse I am not blaming staff, too often the council and Mayor are to blame for staffs continued screw ups and failure.

  2. Sounds like just a delay

    The politicans must hope this will delay the closing of the township office and hope the public will forget about it.  Organizations always want to have more people, functions and money under their control.  They 'think' it makes them look like they are doing something and increase mean they can keep getting more increases each year.

    Evanston is in deep trouble and the Council keeps just re-arranging the deck chairs while the boat sinks.

    Is there no hope ?  Do we have to wait for an election ?  Will the same party loyalists again vote the same people back in who I'm sure will say they 'just need one more term' to fix everything—we all know how that works.

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