April 20, 2010
The second part of the Civic Federation’s Frequently Asked Questions about township government examines the elected offices of Cook County township government. This part of the FAQ describes the elected offices and their functions. The FAQ does not include information about the Town of Cicero, which is difficult to compare to other Cook County townships because it operates as both a township and a municipality.
For Part 1 of the FAQ, which describes townships and their basic functions, please click here.
What are the elected offices of township government?
All Cook County Townships elect a Supervisor and Assessor. All but Evanston Township elect four members to the township Board of Trustees, a Tax Collector and a Clerk. In Evanston Township, the Township is consolidated with the overlapping City of Evanston. The Evanston City Clerk and City Council double as the Township Clerk and Board of Trustees, respectively. All nine Aldermen of the City of Evanston serve as Trustees of the Township. Evanston Township does not elect a Tax Collector.
Nineteen townships that offer road and bridge maintenance services operate as road districts and elect Highway Commissioners to oversee the districts. In these townships, the Supervisor acts as the Treasurer of the Road District and the Township Clerk acts as the Clerk of the Road District ex-officio. These townships include the Townships of Bloom, Bremen, Elk Grove, Hanover, Lemont, Leyden, Lyons, Maine, Northfield, Norwood Park, Orland, Palatine, Palos, Rich, Schaumburg, Stickney, Thornton, Wheeling and Worth. Four other townships offer road and bridge maintenance services but do not operate as Road Districts and do not elect a Highway Commissioner. These townships include the Townships of Barrington, Calumet, Proviso and Riverside.
The following table summarizes the total number of elected offices in Cook County Townships.
What do Cook County Township Elected Officials Do?
In Cook County, township supervisors act as the government’s chief executive officer, manage and report on township expenses and serve as the road district treasurer ex-officio if their township operates as a road district.
The township board of trustees serves as the township’s legislative body and has limited powers to pass township ordinances. The board’s responsibilities include raising funds for township operations and auditing the activities of the Supervisor.
In Cook County, township assessors help taxpayers interpret and appeal their property valuations.
The township clerk’s responsibilities include serving as a local election official, managing township records, publishing public announcements of township meetings and agendas, keeping records of town meetings, issuing certifications and resignations, administering oaths and authenticating documents. The township clerk may vote on ordinances before the board of trustees in the case of a tie. For townships that operate as a single road district, the Clerk serves as the Clerk of the Road District ex-officio.
The township highway commissioner oversees administration of the township’s roads. The highway commissioner’s duties include certifying the tax levy for road purposes and managing expenditures of township road funds.
In Illinois, township collectors prepare tax bills showing each installment of property taxes assessed in counties with a population above 100,000. However in Cook County, the County Treasurer performs this function. The County has retained the elected office of the township tax collector, although the position no longer has any statutory functions.
Are township elected officials compensated for their service?
Township elected officials may receive compensation for their service, which is set by the board of trustees. The Civic Federation reviewed the FY2007 Financial Statements of Cook County Township, and amongst 24 townships with comparable data, seven townships clearly reported the compensation for each of its elected officials. The following table summarizes the compensation for officials in the Townships of Bloom, Calumet, Evanston, Lemont, Niles, Orland and Palatine.
60 ILCS 1/Art. 75
60 ILCS 1/80‑5
60 ILCS 1/73‑5
605 ILCS 5/Art. 6 Div. 2