Making Democracy Work

Proposed Concurrence on Consolidation

NY Position on Consolidation of Government Units

Proposed Concurrence with LWV of New York position on Consolidation of Government Units.

Proposal by LWV of Wheaton

On the convention floor at Convention 2015, the League of Women Voters of Wheaton will be recommending adoption by concurrence of the following LWV of New York position on Consolidation of Government Units. A caucus will take place on Sunday at 8 AM at the Convention.

The following information is being sent in compliance with LWVIL Bylaws, Article XI Section 3(d)

Consolidation Of Governmental Units And Sharing Of Major Governmental Services

Statement of Position Adopted July 15, 2010

The League of Women Voters of New York State (League) supports the efficient and effective operation of government. Consolidation(1.) of governmental units and the sharing of major governmental services may be a way of promoting the efficient and effective operation of government. In achieving this goal, the League supports a cooperative and transparent process, in which citizens have sufficient and timely information with which to make informed decisions about proposed actions, and well-defined channels for citizen input and review. Administrative and fiscal efficiency should be included in the criteria by which local governments consider whether to consolidate or share major services.

The League supports a system of state-funded grants to local governments to study the feasibility of the consolidation of governmental units or sharing of governmental services. In determining whether to support a consolidation/shared services proposal at the local level, as a way of making government more efficient and effective, local Leagues must consider both the adequacy of the process and the likely effects of the proposal's implementation.

In determining whether to support a consolidation/ shared services proposal as a way of making government more efficient and effective, local Leagues should apply the following criteria. While it is not necessary that each standard be met, the League recognizes that these standards represent potential benefits of consolidation, leading to more efficient and effective government:

  • Will the proposal result in projected cost savings and a positive effect on taxes over the long term;
  • Will the proposal either result in an increased quality and/or efficiency of services or, at a minimum, maintain services at existing levels;
  • Will the proposal fairly address disparities in employee contracts;
  • Will the proposal result in increased social and economic justice;
  • Will the proposal result in a reduction in the number of governmental entities?

1. As used in this position, consolidation refers to both the process of consolidation and the process of dissolution.

For more information about the New York study go to : http://www.lwvny.org/programs-studies/consolidation-sss.html.

Arguments in Support of Position

  • Allows for local assessment regarding the impact of consolidation.
  • Outlines the important points that should be considered during the process of consolidation
  • Allows the League to respond in a timely manner to any recommendations
  • Would provide local Leagues uniform standards to assess any proposed changes
  • Supports a transparent process that will educate and inform the electorate
  • A concurrence, upon adoption at convention, is immediately available for advocacy. A new study, if adopted takes two years, and isn't guaranteed upon completion of the study. The issue of consolidation of units of government is now, not two years from now. By the time a study was completed and adopted, many opportunities for League advocacy (and League visibility) may have passed us by. Examples:
  • In 2014, DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin used his influence in General Assembly to have laws passed giving him the ability to consolidate local units of government (water districts, fire districts) in DuPage County.
  • In 2015, State Representative Deb Conroy (from DuPage County) introduced a bill (HB3099) that would reconsolidate the DuPage County Forest Preserve with the DuPage County Board, a split that was made in 2002. There was no position which the state League could use for this issue, but thanks to a strong grassroots effort by environmental groups and individual League members, utilizing League tools (like witness slips), Rep. Conroy pulled her bill from committee consideration. The issue has been tabled for now. Conroy said there would be a $500,000 annual savings if consolidation was done. Former Forest Preserve Commissioner, Shannon Burns, pulled budget figures together and found it would COST $170,000 a year to consolidate. The NY position would have advocated for a process to study just this issue...cost vs. savings.
  • Governor Rauner has appointed Lt. Governor Sanguinetti and DC Chairman Dan Cronin to co-chair a Task Force determining which of IL's 7000 local units of government could be consolidated.
  • Would afford local Leagues the opportunity to work collaboratively when proposed consolidation affects communities served by more than one

Arguments that Oppose the Position

  • Current LWVIL positions might address the issue of consolidation. But a cursory search found the issue of consolidation only referring to schools and elections.
  • League members like to do studies

Rationale

Rationale

The General Assembly passed and the Governor signed, legislation allowing the DuPage County Board to consolidate taxing bodies within DuPage County. The current County Government Structure position does not address consolidation of local government bodies within the county. Governor Rauner has recently appointed Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti to lead a consolidation task force that has been directed to recommend action regarding consolidation of the approximately 7,000 separate units of local government in Illinois by December 31, 2015

Concurrence at Convention is a valid method of adopting a new League position and is particularly useful in this situation. A traditional League study would not allow Leagues to evaluate proposed changes to state law and proposals for local consolidation/sharing of services in a timely manner. We believe that adoption through concurrence of the New York position will provide uniform criteria for local Leagues to utilize in order to insure that the League of Women Voters has a voice regarding the function and form of their local government.

"League positions are the tools which we use for our advocacy work. We need this tool; we need this position...now, not two years from now."

Read More Background.