Race heats up in Shields Township
Updated: April 7, 2013 4:38PM
A full slate of eight candidates of the Shields Township Active Reform Team (START) party filed Wednesday to run for the Shields Township offices in the April 9 election, including supervisor, assessor, highway commissioner, clerk and four trustee positions.
Incumbent Trustee Laura Carney of Lake Bluff is running for re-election while Trustee Scott Anderson of Lake Forest has filed for Highway Commissioner. The slate also includes six first-time candidates for Shields Township office.
The first-time candidates are:
• Cynthia Maloney of Lake Forest for supervisor;
• Kathy Blahunka of Lake Bluff for assessor;
• Lanelle Collins of North Chicago for clerk;
• Bill Brown of Lake Forest for trustee;
• Patrick Corsiglia of Lake Forest for trustee; and
• Gerry Phillips of Knollwood for trustee.
“We are a mostly new group of candidates, but we want to carry on the work of reforming Shields Township government accomplished by the current trustees and protect the gains they have made in reducing the township’s property tax and sharply cutting salaries and benefits of the elected officials,” supervisor candidate Maloney said in a press release.
The current Shields Township Board has reduced the general fund property tax by about 40 percent. In addition, the board majority, including Anderson and Carney, recently cut the salaries of the supervisor’s and assessor’s positions by $40,000 and $33,000, respectively, from $70,000 to $30,000 for the supervisor and from $83,000 to $50,000 for the assessor. They also eliminated health insurance coverage for these positions and made it clear that they should be part-time, below the hourly threshold to qualify for pensions. The highway commissioner’s salary was reduced from $52,000 to $30,000, the clerk’s from $14,000 to $6,000, and the $2,400 salary for trustees was eliminated.
“These are substantial reforms that would not have been achieved without the success of the START reform candidates in the election four years ago,” said Anderson. “No other unit of local government has taken these steps. Reducing unnecessary spending and cutting salaries of the top elected officials of even one of the smallest units of government has not been easy, given the strong objections from the supervisor and assessor,” he said. “We will be asking the voters to make sure these reforms are permanent and to allow us to build on them.”