Doubek: How One Citizen Changed His Local Township Government — and Maybe State Law

Think you can't fight city hall, or township hall? Here's how one Illinoisan did just that.

Perspective
Kelly Cosgriff questioned why the former elected clerk in Roscoe Township also held several paid township jobs. Cosgriff's questioning has led to a possible change in the law, and he is now a township board member himself.

It’s tempting to give up on trying to change our governments, to think that we’re powerless. We’re not. There are a few people out there fighting for change.

Kelly Cosgriff and his friends in Roscoe Township, north of Rockford, are some of those people. Cosgriff has a dispute with some former Roscoe Township officials who reassessed his home and raised its value by 47 percent. He’s pursuing a lawsuit related to that.

But that wasn’t the only action he pursued. As he was investigating his assessment situation, he came across payroll records that indicated the elected township clerk also was being paid for assessment work, general township work and office manager work. The elected clerk position pays $5,000 a year, but the former clerk made between $21,000 and nearly $38,000 a year doing multiple jobs at the township during a five-year period, according to payroll records Cosgriff received through an open records request. Cosgriff believes the extra pay continued for an even longer period of time.

Read the rest of Doubek's column at the Chicago Sun-Times.

About the Author
  • Madeleine Doubek

    Madeleine Doubek is an award-winning journalist who spent 32 years covering local and state government and politics. She previously served as publisher of Reboot Illinois. She has won several regional and national journalism awards during her career.