Two Cents Worth – A politician giving up a benefit isn’t something you see every day

Two Cents Column

Two Cents Column

It was a rare sight last Wednesday evening, as a group of elected officials voted to dramatically cut a benefit for one of their own.

The O’Fallon Township Trustees voted to freeze their own salaries, which aren’t very high at all. They also voted to take away the health care plan from the Township Clerk. This is a pretty big cut to the benefits of the job.

I have to applaud Township Clerk Dave Witter for making the suggestion to remove the health care benefit. Sure, the township was backed into a corner where they had to give the clerk a nearly $7,000 raise in order for him to keep the health plan, but Dave could have gone a different route. Instead he freely recommended giving back a benefit that had been awarded to the position.

Township Supervisor Gary Ahle and Trustee Gary Hursey both referenced how someone should want to be a public servant if they want to get elected to the township, because they’re certainly not going to get rich. It’s refreshing to see a group of men all acting as public servants and not gouging the tax payers to benefit themselves.

Township government has taken a lot of bad hits lately. Belleville Township was exposed as a welfare machine for the politically connected. East St. Louis Township seems like it will be taken over by the federal government at any moment given all of the fraud and misappropriation of funds going on there. But then there’s O’Fallon Township, quietly doing the work of the people. O’Fallon Township, and Shiloh Valley Township for that matter, are both run efficiently by well-meaning individuals who care about their constituents and should be held up as the standard by which township government should be evaluated.

So kudos to Dave Witter and the Township Board of Trustees.