Message from Danny Hanning, TOI President
I was first elected Highway Commissioner in 1989, and have held the position since. When I first ran, many people were not happy with our current Highway Commissioner, and I needed a job. I knew nothing about Township Government. Upon hearing I was running, a neighboring commissioner gave me his copy of Laws and Duties, and told me if I wanted to be a Highway Commissioner, I need to read it all the way through. By the time I took office, I had read it all and knew enough to be confused. That began my thirst for knowledge about doing things right.
The single most important issue we must focus on today is educating the public and our state officials on what we do. We must show them that, in most cases, no one could do what we do for less money. The further government gets away from the people, the less responsive it becomes. I feel this has been proven time and time again. The best advice I could give to all officials, new and old, is that townships run best when each official knows his or her job and does it, and does not try to do someone else's job, as well.
My main focus as president of TOI will be education, not just for our members, but for the public and legislators, as well. If we as township officials do our jobs as we should, and can educate others about how, what, and why we do what we do, I think we can better fend off some of the anti-township ideas that have arisen.
TOI must continue to defend township government, while at the same time recognizing that some changes may be necessary and helpful in today's society. We must continue to point out that change is not and cannot be a one-size-fits-all move. Different areas of the state must be looked at differently, with population, finances, needs, and the desires of the people taken into account.
As president, I am looking forward to meeting people from across the state, listening to their thoughts, and trying to find a way to make things work for everyone. I will not hesitate to go to Springfield and state our case in the Capitol.
In closing, I would like to share this quote from the US Supreme Court. I hope everyone will read it, remember it, and refer to it often. Please share it with every elected official you know, whether it be a dog-catcher, school board member, mayor, senator, or representative.
“...a democracy is effective only if the people have faith in those who govern, and that faith is bound to be shattered when high officials and their appointees engage in activities which arouse suspicions of malfeasance and corruption.” (United States v. Miss. Valley Generating Co., 364 U.S. 520, 562, 1961)
Message from Bryan Smith, TOI Executive Director
Welcome to the Township Officials of Illinois website! It is our goal to provide you with full access to the services provided by TOI, our publications, as well as the tools you need as an elected official.
TOI has been a function of my career since 1987. I became the Executive Director in 1996 and enjoy the relationships I have cultivated with many township officials across Illinois. I have dedicated my professional career to the betterment of township government and the recognition of local government – your government in Illinois. Most importantly, ensuring that township government is preserved, protected and understood. Many changes have occurred since I joined the team that makes up the TOI staff. We continue to move forward, encouraging townships across Illinois to participate, mentor and improve their abilities through the many services provided by the association. Our presence in Springfield is now more important than ever. We are active in the association community, local government and most importantly with the General Assembly to preserve the betterment of township government in Illinois. I applaud all of your efforts in assisting us with these important responsibilities. Our membership exceeds 11, 000 elected officials.
Our message is delivered monthly through Township Perspective magazine that is sent to over 13,000 individuals. This publication provides informative items timed to the annual requirements placed upon elected township officials. Additionally, it provides important educational items to assist you in learning or brushing up on responsibilities you have not visited in a while.
I welcome you if you are new to township government and for those of you who have been around for a while, welcome home. My message is to respect government, learn from it and get involved in it. Involvement at the local level (township government) reinforces TOI’s message that we are the people next door.
Please contact our office if we can assist in any way.