Numerous elected posts, little competition

Hundreds of township offices up for election

Published: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 2:55 p.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 2)

Every 4 years, hundreds of people run for township posts in Lee and Whiteside counties. Most candidates have no opponent.

On April 9, every township post is up for election. Each township has a supervisor, clerk, highway commissioner and four trustees. Most share a property tax assessor with a neighboring township.

The townships have until Jan. 31 to give county clerks the information on their candidates.

Lee and Whiteside counties each have 22 townships.

Lee County has 163 township positions. In 2009, 190 people ran for the offices, with two multi-township assessor positions drawing no candidates.

In all, 77 percent of the positions in Lee County, including all supervisors and clerks, drew no competition.

Twelve of the 22 townships had competitive races for highway commissioner. Eight saw contests for trustee, but in half of the cases, five candidates vied for four positions, meaning all but one would be successful.

In Whiteside County, 167 township positions were on the ballot in 2009. The races drew 184 candidates, with no one seeking one clerk position and two assessor positions.

In all, 88 percent of township races in Whiteside County had no competition.

Eight of the 22 townships had competitive races for highway commissioner and two each for supervisor and clerk. Only three races for trustee were competitive.

Townships are known for their stability; officials often stay for decades.

In Lee County, clerks in 13 townships were in their posts 10 years ago, according to an examination of county yearbooks. Nine townships have had the same supervisor or highway commissioner or both for a decade.

In Whiteside County, clerks and supervisors in 12 townships were in their jobs 10 years ago. Ten highway commissioners have served for at least a decade.

"That's one of the nice things about our offices," said Jerry Crabtree, associate director of the Township Officials of Illinois, the main lobbying group for townships. "We have a lot of people who stick around for a long time. They are dedicated community servants."

Statewide, townships see about 20 percent turnover with each election, Crabtree said.

Bob Anderson, a McHenry County barber who wants to do away with townships, said he wasn't surprised that so few township races were competitive.

"Anyone who comes into my barbershop wouldn't be able to tell you when the next township election is," he said. "The township people keep to themselves, so they can control it."

A look at 2009 races

Here's a look at which races were competitive in April 2009, the most recent township election:

WHITESIDE COUNTY

Albany: No competition

Clyde: No competition

Coloma: Two ran for highway commissioner; five ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

Erie: No competition

Fenton: Two ran for clerk; no other competition

Fulton: Two ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Garden Plain: No competition

Genesee: No competition

Hahnaman: No competition

Hopkins: Three ran for supervisor, two ran for highway commissioner; no one ran for clerk; two ran for four trustee positions

Hume: No competition

Jordan: Three ran for clerk; three ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Lyndon: No competition

Montmorency: Four ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Mount Pleasant: No competition

Newton: No competition

Portland: No competition

Prophetstown: No competition

Sterling: Two ran for supervisor; three ran for highway commissioner; seven ran for four trustee positions

Tampico: Two ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Union Grove: Three ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Ustick: No competition

LEE COUNTY

Alto: No competition

Amboy: No competition

Ashton: Two ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Bradford: Two ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Brooklyn: Three ran for highway commissioner; five ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

Dixon: Two ran for highway commissioner; six ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

East Grove: No competition

Franklin Grove: Two ran for highway commissioner; five ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

Hamilton: No competition

Harmon: Two ran for highway commissioner; seven ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

Lee Center: Five ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

Marion: Three ran for highway commissioner; five ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

May: Two ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Nachusa: No competition

Nelson: No competition

Palmyra: Two ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Reynolds: No competition

South Dixon: No competition

Sublette: No competition

Viola: Five ran for four trustee positions: no other competition

Willow Creek: Three ran for highway commissioner; no other competition

Wyoming: Two ran for highway commissioner; six ran for four trustee positions; no other competition

 

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