DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin of Elmhurst is spreading the word about his sweeping overhaul of county government.
Cronin, appearing at a City Club of Chicago public affairs forum Tuesday, said there is little hope of restoring the economy if “government keeps taking and wasting money.”
As a way to reform government, Cronin is leading an unprecedented that range from mosquito abatement and fire protection districts to the . The agencies account for $300 million and nearly 900 employees. The “stress tests” of these agencies is ongoing, but already several instances of financial strain and operational mismanagement has been found at some of these entities.
“This is not a problem unique to DuPage. This is a significant problem in every county. Despite the well-intentioned goal of independence, these agencies have instead engendered a climate of carelessness and cronyism,” he said.
To see his presentation in its entirety, click here.
Later this month, Cronin plans to announce his reform agenda to remedy the problems that have been identified through the “stress tests.”
“Consolidation and even elimination of outdated public bodies is my larger goal,” he said.
The assessment has already brought about some reforms, as a few agencies have proposed new ethics rules, procurement standards and personnel policies. However, Cronin admits there is a lot more work ahead of him to fulfill his reform agenda.
“I think what we’ve found only scratches the surface of what’s happening at every level of government. The tough questions are not being asked,” he said. “Government is just too massive and too unwieldy to get a solid grip on who is in charge and how the money is being spent.”
Cronin suggested government institutions are structured to extract resources from the many to benefit the few.
“Just think if we could return a small part of that $300 million spent at these 24 agencies back to the private economy in DuPage,” he said. “We could put it back in the hands of people who have earned it, rather than allow a small group of folks, no matter how well-intentioned, to control that money.”