The Illinois Municipal Act, which is what rules and governs our town’s ability to be a village, has a great deal of information and provisions that empower you and me, the “electors” to participate in the process. But what happens when the village trustees won’t return our phone calls – or meet our needs? Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a way to recall our government officials? What’s that? There is?
Under the Illinois Municipal Act, the electors of a Village can petition to the court to get a referendum on the next general election ballot (hey, we have one of those coming up in 2014!) that asks the electors (us) if we want to abandon our current form of municipal government.
Currently, we use a “Division 5” form, otherwise known as a Managerial Form of government. In this form, there is a village manager who over sees day to day operations, a board of trustees who vote for and authorize spending and make decisions for the village, and a village president who is the defacto “head” of the government. However, there are 2 other forms, an Aldermanic Form – like the city of Chicago uses and a Strong Mayor form. If a village uses the Managerial Form or the Strong Mayor form, they can chose to abandon it and revert to the Alderman (Division 3) form of government, complete with “wards.”
Why would we do this? Well, simple – It eliminates the Village Manager and puts EVERY trustee and President up for reelection at the next election cycle! Essentially it’s a way to recall every board member when we believe our current form has become so out of touch with the citizens that they are no longer beholden to us. It puts them on notice that they have significant changes to make if they want to have a chance of retaining their seat in the next election. If we vote to abandon, the Village Manager no longer has a position, and the Village President becomes the Mayor – and the Mayor runs the day to day operations in place of the manager. (He’s welcome to resign if he doesn’t want to do that) BONUS! WE Elect the guy that runs the day to day, instead of the trustees appointing someone! The Trustees become alderman, at the next election time, MUST live in the ward for which they are running. This means that we will actually have a board member that lives near us and can address our specific concerns! Time and again we elect trustees who, over time become so concerned with squabbling, secrecy and back alley deals that for decades our village just hasn’t functioned well. By changing our form of government we get to clean house and make clear our standards for an all new board.
The last election had 2093 voters turn out. That means we need 210 signatures on the petition to get the question on the ballot. And we’ll need a simple majority to pass the referendum! Let’s send our Trustees a decisive message – you cannot ignore us without facing the consequences. If you are interested in signing a petition, please email me savecville.comcast.net for more information!
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