The voters of Cook County have a real chance to effect change this November. Near the end of the ballot (after all the judges) is a binding referendum to eliminate the elected Recorder of Deeds position and transfer the duties of that office to the Cook County Clerk.
The League of Women Voters of Cook County has recently completed a study on this referendum and recommends a “Yes” vote. This is an opportunity to save money and to make county government more efficient. This referendum is not a reflection on the current Recorder of Deeds’ ability or accomplishments.
The Recorder of Deeds has mainly administrative duties, which can easily be absorbed into the Clerk’s Office. The League has found it is reasonable that at least $1 million could be saved each year should the referendum be approved. This is money that could be re-directed to other pressing needs.
Because the consolidation of offices would not occur until 2020, there is plenty of time to ensure the consolidation would take place smoothly, with any reduction in personnel accomplished through attrition, rather than layoffs. In Illinois since 2000, several counties have consolidated the two offices and have reported cost savings and no ill effects. Of the 10 largest counties in the United States, only Cook and Maricopa County in Arizona have these offices as separately elected entities.
We recommend a “Yes” vote on Nov. 8. Rarely do voters have the chance to reduce costs and increase efficiency in their county government with one vote. To read the League’s study, go to www.lwvcookcounty.org.
Beverly Graham, Margaret Massarello, Michelle Mbekeani
Vice presidents, League of Women Voters of OP-RF