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E-Splash February 2014 - Trustee at Large Report
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash -  February 2014

What District Are You In And Who Is Your Trustee?
Chris Ulm,Trustee at Large

As our resolutions once again fade away and we settle in for 2014, I hope the memories of the holidays continue to warm your hearts. We are setting the stage for another awesome annual conference, and I want take this article as an opportunity to reach out to the membership for some input. Perhaps you can even give us that feedback during the conference. I am proposing some changes in the Board appearance that will affect each of you. Please read on, form an opinion, find your trustee, and tell them your opinion. THANKS!

My role as Trustee at Large is to represent the out of state members and assist any District trustee that needs help with something. But I think it is also to look at things as a whole and try to resolve issues such as this.

The State is split into 5 districts. The map shows the District boundaries with the approximate number of members in each district. The number outside of the state represents the out of state members. The percentage of membership per district is shown below:

District 1 - 8.7% 
District 2 - 56.5%
District 3 - 11.3%
District 4 - 9.3%
District 5 - 7.1%
Out of State - 7.1%

As you can see, there is a bit of unbalance in the District 2 membership percentage. The District does have two trustees, but there is still an imbalance with those two trustees each representing over two times the number of members as other trustees. Also, there are no sub district boundaries within the district, so there is confusion over responsibility.

Don't get me wrong, the District 2 Trustees do a great job. They cover tons of events and seminars and very professionally represent the lion’s share of the membership. But they deserve some relief and the members deserve some clarity in who represents them.

So I am proposing subdivision of District 2 to form distinct boundaries for the trustees, so they and the members know who represents whom. After investigation, the membership in District 2 by county is represented in the figure below:

In trying to create defined boundaries, but not increasing the size of the board, one option is to stay with two trustees for the district and simply make a Cook County trustee and a Suburban Trustee. This comes pretty close to balancing out the work load between the two trustees, but gives them both a big percentage of the membership and gives the suburban trustee a huge amount of area to cover.

As can be seen, Cook County alone has twice as many members when compared to other districts. So perhaps having two trustees represent Cook County, then having one or two new trustees added to the Board to split up the rest of the District would be an option.

Another option may be to add two new District 2 trustees with one representing Cook County, one representing Lake and McHenry Counties, one representing Kane and DuPage Counties, and one representing Kendall, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee Counties. This option really balances out the membership representation nicely. It also can delineate a Trustee to attend chapter meetings, but it gives District 2 four votes of the nine Trustee votes.

Or, maybe one new Trustee in District 2 with one representing Cook County, one representing McHenry, Lake, and Kane Counties, and one representing DuPage, Kendall, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee Counties. Responsibility would still be delineated. District members would have a clear understanding of who their representative is. Some relief would be offered to the trustees, but it would be difficult to tell who should go to the Mid Central Water Works meeting or the South Suburban Water Works Association meeting, not to mention the North Suburban Water Works Association meeting versus the Kane County Water Works Association meeting.

There you have it. I am proposing some major changes. There are several options on how to do it better, but the decision is a tough one. We need your input and thoughts. Figure out who your trustee is, call them or email them, and tell them what you think about this. If you don’t know who your trustee is, contact your Trustee at Large!


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