Government

McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson wants voters to decide whether to abolish road district

McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson (right) chats with Recorder Joseph Tirio while they wait to file their 2018 primary election petitions Nov. 27 at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock.
McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson (right) chats with Recorder Joseph Tirio while they wait to file their 2018 primary election petitions Nov. 27 at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock.

Bob Anderson, a longtime advocate of township consolidation, is bringing a motion to his fellow McHenry Township trustees next week to pass a resolution to ask voters in the November election whether they want to abolish the road district and consolidate it into the township.

“There’s no oversight of the road district,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if any other elected official has more power than the highway commissioner.” 

Anderson wants a referendum question added to the November ballot to see whether voters agree with him.

McHenry Township Highway Commissioner James Condon agrees with Anderson that Condon’s job is one of the most powerful and autonomous in government – a post that requires few permissions from township trustees.

That’s because the job is highly technical, and the logistics of managing roads are too complicated for trustees, most of whom do not have the engineering knowledge required to efficiently direct a highway department, Condon said.

“If you eliminate the road commissioner, it’s going to fall to the supervisor,” said Condon, who is a certified engineer in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. “He’ll have to hire somebody to manage the road district. The means the township is responsible for 100 miles of road.”

The two-year road boss said Anderson’s motion is nothing more than a tactic to push his political agenda.

“Bob Anderson has been trying to abolish the township and road district for 20 years and has yet to produce proof that consolidation would save me real money on my tax bill,” Condon said. “He is a self-promoter who likes to see his name in the newspaper.” 

In August, Anderson urged Township Supervisor Craig Adams to determine whether McHenry County plans to conduct an independent study to examine the financial effect of township consolidation. Condon and Anderson clashed several times during the meeting.

Anderson, elected in April as a trustee, has come to political blows before.

In October, he reported that he recently found nearly 40 U-shaped nails behind his car tires at his house in Wonder Lake. He had made a similar complaint in April after finding nails in the parking lot of his Wonder Lake barber shop. Anderson said he believes the nail littering is a politically motivated threat.

Although Anderson’s fight to consolidate townships has been criticized, he plans to take his time to get at the issues he cares about.

“I want to get the voters involved to start the process of consolidation,” Anderson said. “You can see this as eating an elephant. You take one bite at a time.”

The next McHenry Township meeting is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at McHenry Township Hall, 3703 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg.

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