Burlington trustee quits after vote on clerk position
By Jeanie Mayer For The Courier-News October 17, 2012 12:56PM
Updated: November 19, 2012 3:06PM
BURLINGTON — A dispute over whether the village clerk’s position should be elected or appointed this week led to Trustee Betty Reiser announcing she was resigning from the village board.
The disagreement arose during a special meeting Tuesday night regarding the compensation for elected officials and to determine the process by which a new village clerk would be hired. Longtime Village Clerk Mary Ann Wilkison announced earlier this month that she will not be running for re-election this spring.
The discussion began with board members agreeing to make no changes to the compensation that trustees and the village president receive for meetings attended. Currently, trustees are paid $75 for each board meeting and committee of the whole meeting, and $25 for special meetings and committee meetings.
The board then turned its attention to the village clerk’s position. A majority of the trustees liked the idea of having the clerk’s position continue to be elected but also were concerned about finding a qualified village resident who would be interested in running for the office.
“I’m torn between this,” Trustee Duane Wilkison said. “I like the idea that the residents can elect the clerk; but if the work pool is not there, we will be stuck.”
Trustee John Totemeier agreed, saying if the elected clerk doesn’t perform the required duties, the village has no recourse to remove the clerk until the next election cycle four years later.
“We have a lot more control if it is an appointed position. My opinion is it is the best way to go,” Totemeier said.
Reiser expressed concern over the possibility of nepotism in the case of an appointment and said she did not want to deal with annual wage increases.
Village President Kathy Loos said that if the clerk’s position became an appointment, it would fall under the same anti-nepotism regulations other municipal employee positions are required to follow. She also said the village board would determine the clerk’s rate of pay in either case.
“An elected clerk is better because we don’t have to go through the wage bull----,” Reiser stated.
After continued discussion Trustee Bob Walsh made a motion to appoint the next clerk. He, Wilkison, Totemeier and Trustee Nancy Melin voted for the motion. Reiser voted against. Trustee Al Vonderlack was absent from the meeting.
After the vote was read by the clerk, Reiser stood up and resigned.
“And one trustee is resigning from this board,” she said. “You have my resignation. You can do what you ... please.”
Loos said after the meeting that she believed Reiser was sincere in her resignation.
“I’m taking it as an official resignation,” Loos said.
In other business this week, Sally Eickhorst of the accounting firm Krueger and Associates was contracted to replace former village treasurer Eric Bahe, who quit recently after problems surfaced with bill payments.
Loos said the problems had included developer-related expenses paid from the general fund instead of the developer-funded escrow accounts, and some bills not being paid in a timely manner.