In Waukegan on April 4th, voters will be asked to vote on a ballot measure which seeks to change the form of city government. If passed, the measure would cost already overburdened taxpayers at least $350,000 per year and likely take away the accountability of Alderman by doing away with wards.

The ballot measure is comprised of a single question as follows:

In simple terms, the question is asking if the voters approve of hiring a city manager. This would mean a figure head who would do much of the mayor’s work and at an added annual pay rate of $250k per year, which is typical for this position. The new administrator would also require a staff at a conservative estimate of $100k per year. The taxpayers of Waukegan already pay the mayor roughly $130k per year. It is wasteful to hire more people to do the work the mayor is already paid to do.

An attending measure that would come next if the ballot measure were to pass is changing to an “at-large” system for alderman. Currently the city is divided into nine wards, each with an elected alderman who is responsible to the people of the ward they represent. In an at-large system, each alderman would continue to vote at city council but not represent the people of a ward. That eradicates responsibility and disenfranchises poorer neighborhoods of Waukegan.

In an at-large system, aldermanic candidates would have to run city wide instead of in smaller areas defined by wards. This would result in a condition where the only candidates who run are those who have the money to fund larger campaigns. Mailers, walk pieces, door knocking teams would all have to be roughly nine times larger than they are now. People from the poorer areas of Waukegan would be comparatively less able to run for alderman and would no longer have a local elected official who is accountable to them. Power would become concentrated in the richer areas of Waukegan.

Vote NO!
Each voter has the fate of this proposed ballot measure in their hands. You are already taxed enough and your mayor is paid well to be the chief administrator. Every resident currently has a local alderman who is accountable directly to them. Your alderman is there to take your calls and look out for your interests at city council meetings. By voting no, you save your money and preserve fair representation.