How Efficient Can Government Be?

Feb 3, 2014

Norm Sims

Last month, a local panel put together a list of recommendations designed to make Sangamon County governmental units work better and, in some cases, save money.  Voters helped create the Citizens' Efficiency Commission of Sangamon County through an earlier referendum.  They have another chance to keep the effort going in the March election.

Norm Sims, Executive Director of the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, says it's been a valuable process.  He supports the efficiency work continuing for another 3 years, but with a smaller group.  Instead of 23 members, there would be 9.

"My contention is if you think government is as efficient and effective as it can be, then don't support the referendum.  If you think it's a good idea to have a group of independent citizens objectively look  at what government is doing and try to identify areas where they can provide better service at a lower cost, vote in favor of the referendum," he said.

The recommendations touched on areas such as public safety, public works, community development, administration, management and budget.  Sims says governmental units are already talking about ways to implement some of the proposals.

Sims sees that as a positive.

"Local units of government in Sangamon County, their leaders weren't meeting with one another. There was no forum for that to occur. There was no forum for that to take place," he said. "So their first recommendation was what was called the Peer Network Group and that initially the mayors and village board presidents needed to start getting together to look at these areas where they could work collaboratively."