Four trustees are elected to office at the consolidated election held on the first Tuesday of April the year following the Presidential election. Their term is for four years and begins on the third Monday of May following the election.
Trustees are elected to represent the general public and to govern the programs and services affecting the quality of life of township residents. Their goal should be to provide superior services and benefits while minimizing costs.
The Board of Trustees consists of the four trustees and supervisor. The board carries out orders listed in the Illinois statutes or requested by their constituency. In addition the board is the legislative arm of the township, providing a strategic direction for carrying out policies and programs.
Township trustees have five important roles to fulfill for their constituency
1. Decision Makers – To determine the strategic direction of the township
2. Fiduciary Stewards – Ensure resources are being responsibly allocated and managed
3. Representatives - For friends and neighbors as they deal with all levels of government
4. Educators – Learn the issues affecting jurisdiction and respond to the needs of residents
5. Motivators – Consistently seek public involvement in township government
Trustees review all monthly bills submitted by the supervisor and highway commissioner and review all financial reports. They also approve the budgets and tax levys of the township and road district.
Trustees have the ability to hire employees, except when specific hiring authority has been given to an elected official. For Example:
Assessors have the authority to hire their employees
Supervisors have the authority to hire General Assistance employees
Highway Commissioners have the authority to hire road district employees
Township residents must remember that Townships and other units of local government are regulated by the provisions found in Article VII, Section 8 of the 1970 Illinois Constitution which state in part that these governments “shall have only powers granted by law.” This means that if there is no statute permitting a township or road district to perform a function or service, the unit of government may not carry out that function regardless of how much it is needed or wanted by taxpayers.*
*Some descriptions and comments are taken from the Trustees’ Operations Manual of the Township Officials of Illinois