Petitions (St. Clair County Version and Madison County Version) – See relevant part of Illinois Election Code at bottom of this post. (10 ILCS 5/28‑7)
The people of Collinsville just recently avoided a draconian Occupancy Permit Ordinance and Crime Free Ordinance thanks to the combined efforts of local activists and concerned citizens. This issue is not over by any stretchy of the imagination. The proponents of this ordinance are regrouping and crafting a new ordinance as I type. They are taking all of the input from the dissenters and massaging the legalese to work on fears and prejudices of the masses. Related Story Here.
The timing of this move is no accident. Collinsville achieved home rule status pursuant to the Illinois Constitution by way of a special census just within the past few years. One of the speakers at the City Council Meeting, Dennis Hillege, even admitted that he has been striving for this objective for some 15 years. Mr. Hillege serves on the planning board. What has kept them at bay for this time has been the lack of authority to pass such an ordinance. Thanks to the still fresh home rule powers, the impetus to push this agenda has been realized.
I have to wonder if the people of Collinsville want to relive the stress and effort of waging a war consisting of deceit, misinformation, and propaganda when they are out-manned and out-spent at the outset? This was but one victory in a potentially long war. Taking the lessons of recent events to heart, I believe it is time to strike at the root and repeal the home rule status of Collinsville.
The City functioned just fine with powers bestowed by the Illinois Legislature. There are no special urban needs or circumstances peculiar to Collinsville as with other municipalities. Collinsville is surrounded by other home rule municipalities who are none the better for their expanded powers. Belleville has a crime problem and much blight. Business has moved out and the area looks tired. Home rule does little to enhance the life of the inhabitants but does much for the taxing and regulatory powers. Any increase in governmental power usually results in an increased benefit to the oligarchs and not to the people.
This article will be modified regularly over the coming days so check back regularly. More information on how to put a referendum to the voters for repealing home rule will be posted as well as unbiased information on the pros and cons of home rule. I am not anti-home rule, but I am anti-unresponsive and prejudicial government. This occupancy and crime free ordinance was but a taste of what kind of irresponsible power would possibly await the people should the City retain a great amount of power. Collinsville is not suffering, crime ridden, blighted, or otherwise hobbled. With citizen-driven civic pride and responsibility, the power can be kept out of the hands of the oligarchs and the money in the pockets of the people.
I also wonder if it may not be time to reconsider the organization of the City’s government, or should I say the citizen’s government. I am including information relating to such below. Collinsville presently functions under a managerial form of government.
More to come………….
(65 ILCS 5/1‑1‑8) (from Ch. 24, par. 1‑1‑8)
Sec. 1‑1‑8. Whenever this Code requires or authorizes the submission of a proposition or question to referendum, whether initiated by action of the corporate authorities or by petition, upon such initiation, the proposition or question shall be certified, in accordance with the general election law, to the proper county clerks and boards of election commissioners. Those election authorities shall submit the proposition or question to the voters of the municipality, or to the voters of such other territory as are entitled to vote thereon, at an election in accordance with the general election law. Whenever this Code requires referendum approval by the voters of any ordinance adopted by a municipality, and no specific procedure is provided for initiating the referendum, the referendum shall be initiated by the passage of such ordinance and shall be certified for the next regular election in accordance with the general election law.
Whenever this Code requires or authorizes a special election to be held for the purpose of filling a vacancy in office, the office and the candidates therefor shall be similarly certified, in accordance with the general election law.
Municipal clerks and clerks of the circuit court shall perform all election duties, including certifications and publication of notices, in connection with the conduct of elections of officers and referenda on the submission of questions or propositions to referendum as provided in the general election law.
(Source: P.A. 81‑1489.)
(65 ILCS 5/1‑1‑9) (from Ch. 24, par. 1‑1‑9)
Sec. 1‑1‑9. If a municipality which is a home rule unit under Section 6 of Article VII of the Constitution by reason of having a population of more than 25,000 suffers a loss in population so that its population determined as provided in Section 1‑7‑2 is 25,000 or less, such municipality shall continue to have the powers of a home rule unit until it elects by referendum not to be a home rule unit.
Unless such a referendum is held sooner, or such a referendum has been held within the 2 calendar years preceding the year in which the population is determined to be 25,000 or less, the municipal clerk shall certify for submission to the voters of the municipality at the next general election following such determination of population, in the manner provided by the general election law, the proposition of whether the municipality shall elect not to be a home rule unit.
(Source: P.A. 82‑94.)\
Under the aldermanic-city form, the legislative body ordinarily consists of two aldermen from each ward elected for a four-year term. Their terms are staggered so that half are elected every two years. The number of aldermen elected depends upon the population of the city. The mayor is the chief executive officer of the municipality. The mayor, city clerk, and city treasurer are elected at large (Village or citywide) to a four-year term. Other offices and vacancies are filled by appointment by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council, although it may be provided by ordinance that these offices be filled by election.
Under the trustee-village form, the legislative body consists of six trustees, generally elected from the village at large. The number of trustees does not vary with the size of the municipality. Villages of over 25,000 population may have each of the six trustees elected by district instead of from the village.
The village president and clerk are elected at large, but the village treasurer is appointed. The term of the president, trustees, and clerk is four years, unless reduced to two years by referendum. As with the mayor in the aldermanic-city form, the appointments to all nonelective offices are made by the president with the advice and consent of the board of trustees. If the village collector is appointed, the village board may provide by ordinance that the elected village clerk also hold the office of village collector.
The commission form of government is limited to cities or villages under 200,000 population. Under this form, the voters elect at large a mayor and four commissioners who serve as the council. At the first regular meeting after an election, the council designates each member to be either the commissioner of accounts and finances, public health and safety, streets and public improvements, or public property. The mayor serves as commissioner of public affairs. The council may elect the clerk and treasurer, as well as all the other officers whose appointment is not delegated, as it may be, to one commissioner. Each commissioner is given executive control over such administrative departments as may be assigned to him. By referendum, the electors may provide for the election of commissioners to specific departments.
The manager form of government is available to all municipalities under 500,000 in population. The municipality may retain its governmental structure as an aldermanic-city form, trustee-village form, or commission form while adopting the features of the manager form.
Under this form, the power of the council or board is purely legislative, except that it is empowered to approve all expenses and liabilities of the municipality. The manager is the administrative and executive head of the government for some purposes. The manager appoints and removes all officers not required to be elected. The appointment to most boards, commissions, and other municipal agencies resides in the mayor or president subject to council or board confirmation.
Strong Mayor Form
This form of government has an elected mayor, clerk, and treasurer and, depending upon the size of the community, from eight to twenty aldermen elected from wards. The terms of elected officials are four years. The functions of an ordinary mayor are generally merged with the powers accorded a municipal manager. The mayor is given the power, without council approval, to appoint and remove his administrative assistants, budget and finance director, heads of all departments, and all other officers of the municipality, and members of commissions, boards, and agencies, except those covered by civil service. The powers of the council are purely legislative.
This “form” of government is not specifically sanctioned by statute but is in use in a number of municipalities. It may be used in all but the manager form of government. It is not really a “form” of government but rather a legislative device adopted by municipalities which seek a full-time administrator without the permanency of the manager form of government. Under this system, a municipality creates by ordinance the office or employment of “administrator” and endows such an office or employment with certain administrative powers. The administrator may be made the administrative head of all departments and may be given any power not specifically granted to another person by statute. The administrator may be appointed for a term or hired by contract, or his employment may be for an unspecified period. In any case, he may be removed like any other officer or employee subject to the payment of any valid remaining portion of his contract. This system of government allows for a full-time administrator to conduct the day-to-day operations of a community armed with as much or as little power as the corporate authorities may from time to time provide by ordinance.
A good resource and discussion on Home Rule is Illinois Local Government – A Handbook (Read the section on Illinois Home Rule: Page 225)
Brochure: Home Rule and You
Sec. 28‑7. In any case in which Article VII or paragraph (a) of Section 5 of the Transition Schedule of the Constitution authorizes any action to be taken by or with respect to any unit of local government, as defined in Section 1 of Article VII of the Constitution, by or subject to approval by referendum, any such public question shall be initiated in accordance with this Section.
Any such public question may be initiated by the governing body of the unit of local government by resolution or by the filing with the clerk or secretary of the governmental unit of a petition signed by a number of qualified electors equal to or greater than 10% of the number of registered voters in the governmental unit, requesting the submission of the proposal for such action to the voters of the governmental unit at a regular election.
If the action to be taken requires a referendum involving 2 or more units of local government, the proposal shall be submitted to the voters of such governmental units by the election authorities with jurisdiction over the territory of the governmental units. Such multi‑unit proposals may be initiated by appropriate resolutions by the respective governing bodies or by petitions of the voters of the several governmental units filed with the respective clerks or secretaries.
This Section is intended to provide a method of submission to referendum in all cases of proposals for actions which are authorized by Article VII of the Constitution by or subject to approval by referendum and supersedes any conflicting statutory provisions except those contained in the “County Executive Act”.
Referenda provided for in this Section may not be held more than once in any 23‑month period on the same proposition, provided that in any municipality a referendum to elect not to be a home rule unit may be held only once within any 47‑month period.
(Source: P.A. 82‑750.)