Joliet politics and city overtime

Wayne Horne | 4/4/2019, 6 a.m.
If you Google the definition of politics it states “Politics is the way that people living in groups make decisions.... ...

If you Google the definition of politics it states “Politics is the way that people living in groups make decisions.... In everyday life, the term "politics" refers to the way that countries are governed, and to the ways that governments make rules and laws.” Governments are political creatures.

Politics has and probably always will be a game of “gotcha.” There are several varieties of political action. Some actions tend to be divisive and some are mildly harmless. For instance, campaigns tend to operate on the idea of “I’m right and you’re wrong on the issues.” Any given candidate may be correct in the statement, but it’s hard to know because there are seldom facts to back up a given claim.

Then there is the “I can do anything you can do, only better.” Actually, that is probably the most normal way politics is conducted during a campaign for election. It’s oftentimes the most normal because the candidates themselves are not schooled on what the issues are.

Another method is the “one-upmanship.” That’s when a candidate or officeholder puts forth an idea and the opponent will attempt to go one better. It can be a real positive but this method usually suffers from a lack of how the idea will be funded or accomplished.

The most divisive and destructive type of politics is “revenge politics.” I don’t suggest it is “to the victor belongs the spoils.” That’s fair game in politics. Revenge politics sometimes occurs during an election campaign but more often it occurs after the election is over. It is more subtle. Most of the time it’s barely noticed. Oftentimes it’s disguised as legislation or job replacement.

Recent legislation being proposed by State Representative Natalie Manley looks somewhat like revenge politics. Maybe not, but last Fall, Representative Manley supported the recently elected Will County Clerk, Lauren Staley-Ferry, in the Democrat primary election. Lockport Township Clerk, Denise Mushro-Rumchak, ran against Staley-Ferry for the position. The legislation being proposed eliminates the Will County Township clerks in Manley’s Illinois Legislative District. The responsibilities would be done by the Will County Clerk. The premise of the legislation, she calls it a pilot program, is to save taxpayers the cost for what Manley describes as “duplicative services.”

Portions of six townships are in Manley’s 98th District: Lockport, Joliet, Plainfield, Troy, Wheatland and DuPage. Lockport and Joliet are controlled by Democrats and the other four by Republicans. That gives it a bipartisan look on the outside. Coincidentally, Joliet Township Clerk, Beth May, also supported Mushro-Rumchak in the primary.

Readers of this column know I am an advocate of smaller government, having written many past columns regarding the number of Illinois government units. This legislation won’t make government smaller, just more complicated and expensive. Will County government would be tasked with additional cost and personnel to make the proposed legislation function. The Townships and Will County government are opposed to the legislation, almost unanimously, for the costs and inefficiency it will cause. According to reports and several sources, Manley didn’t consult any of the affected parties before submitting the proposed legislation.