You hear all the time how it’s so important to get out and vote. It’s your civic duty after all, your responsibility as an American citizen.
And to be fair, it’s really not that much to ask. You can vote early and you can vote by mail. Or you can just go to the polls like in the old days. So it’s easier than ever and there’s really no excuse at all for failing to vote. It’s just hard to see the point of it sometimes.
Not that all the races in a given election are pointless. But to exert any effort at all to vote on something like the contest for Will County treasurer, that’s sheer foolishness and an utter waste of time.
It’s not that either of the candidates seems like a particularly bad guy. It’s just that the one who has the job now, Steve Weber, admitted he only goes into the office two or three days a week. For this, Weber gets $93,116.
It’s outrageous and unconscionable to pay someone nearly $100,000 for what may as well be a part-time job. But is the county suffering for it at all? It doesn’t appear to be. The county seems to be doing just fine with a treasurer who goes into the office maybe half the time.
[Eric Ginnard - firstname.lastname@example.org]
So the problem probably isn’t Weber. It’s that there’s a county treasurer job that pays $93,116 for work that takes half the week to complete.
For his part, Weber, who is a practicing CPA, said there are other county office holders besides himself making money at day jobs in addition to the money they make off taxpayers.
“There are people on the side, both sides of the table that have other careers,” he pointed out.
“Your board members all have other careers,” Weber said. “The county executive is a professional farmer. The coroner has a funeral home. The auditor is a professor during the day. It’s all about getting results for the taxpayers. Let’s cut all the political stuff out.”
He might be getting the results for the taxpayers. But he’s also getting that $93,116. Which is way too much for two or three days a week.
To be fair, two or three days a week are still better than no days a week. Which is how many days Will County Board Member Cory Singer bothered showing up for meetings in the last four months.
Singer, who lost in the March primary and is a lame duck playing out the string, stopped going to county board meetings after the one held in June. He also missed the meeting in March.
One thing Singer did not stop doing was collecting the money he gets for being on the Will County Board.
Singer gets paid $23,000 a year to go to one board meeting and two committee meetings a month. That works out to about $638 a meeting. Well, he doesn’t actually get paid to go to the meetings. He gets paid whether he goes or not. And he hasn’t been going to too many of his committee meetings this last fiscal year either.
Before losing in the primary, Singer said he was very good about attending county board meetings.
“During my 14 years as a member of the Will County Board, I have just slightly over a 90 percent attendance record,” Singer told Herald-News reporter Alex Ortiz.
And it’s not because he lost in the primary and will no longer be on the county board after his term’s up that he stopped going to meetings slightly more than 90 percent of the time. It’s because of his job, which, according to the county board website, involves working “as a business development and growth planning consultant.”
“It’s become very challenging to balance the demands of a full-time job and the county and that’s clearly apparent,” Singer said, but was apparently reluctant to discuss how many hours he was putting in at this full-time job.
Not that it really matters. Just as the county has been doing all right with a treasurer showing up for work only two or three days a week, the county also seems to be in perfectly adequate shape even though board member Singer hasn’t been attending meetings for quite some time.
Maybe the county doesn’t need that board member after all. If they eliminate the position completely it saves $23,000. Get rid of the county board all together and Will County pockets a whole $600,000. That’s enough for nearly another six and a half treasurers, with the half-treasurer coming into the office for a day, maybe a day and a half a week.
[Eric Ginnard - email@example.com]
But the answer isn’t six and a half treasurers. The answer is no treasurers. Which is why there is no point in voting for either one of these guys. If neither one wins, maybe they can get rid of the job once and for all.
• Joe Hosey is the editor of The Herald-News. You can reach him at 815-280-4094, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JoeHosey.