Editorials

Unwilling donors (taxpayers) give $4 in overhead so poor get $1

A few million dollars in missing, abused and misused funds later, the trustees of East St. Louis Township get it: “A thousand dollars is not petty cash.”

That was Trustee Edith Moore reining in Township Supervisor Alvin Parks. He spent that much out of petty cash when the limit was supposed to be $200 per month.

It is nice to see consequences for actions, and Parks lost nearly all his spending authority when he went over that $200 petty cash limit. Trustees previously just kept on sleeping when monthly American Express card bills topping $10,000 were rolling in the door for now-imprisoned supervisor Oliver W. Hamilton.

He tallied $230,000 and no one took much notice. He also took out illegal loans and $600,000 disappeared from a CD without anyone much noticing.

Too bad trustees can’t take it all a step farther and save the $60,000 salary Parks is paid.

Parks has little purpose without being able to spend money, because that is all the township really does is spend public money to employ or enrich friends and family. Parks just spent $9,850 on decorative landscaping at township offices with Bill Mason, the former superintendent of District 189 — where Parks formerly worked and where his mother was formerly superintendent.

Too bad we can’t take it farther, still, and eliminate the whole grossly inefficient exercise in public charity that we call East St. Louis Township. It taxes $1.6 million from an impoverished community, and then charges that community $4 in overhead for every $1 in needy assistance delivered.

You’d never willingly donate to a charity that spent $4 on overhead for every $1 in assistance. Why put up with it in local government?

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