West Chicago treasurer wants to eliminate his own job
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It's not often an elected official talks himself out of a job.
But that's what West Chicago Treasurer Don Earley did when he suggested eliminating a layer of government by doing away with his own part-time position.
"Basically, this is his idea," Mayor Michael Kwasman said. "(He said) 'You know what, it's time.'"
West Chicago residents will vote April 5 on whether to eliminate the treasurer's office and consolidate the duties with those of existing staff. If voters support the measure, the office will disappear in 2013.
The treasurer's role is to oversee the finances of the city, but over time "it's become more of a status position than an actual hands-on position," Kwasman said.
Eliminating the elected office will save the position's $4,500 salary, reduce some operating costs and improve efficiency, officials said.
"It seems sort of foolish to have a little bit more bureaucracy," Earley said.
The mayor and city council still will be responsible for overseeing financial policies and making sure spending is in line with the approved budget. City staff members prepare the budget documents and reports.
Earley, 79, has been West Chicago's treasurer for 10 years. His current term ends in 2013.
"It's been a rewarding job," he said. "We know the city's (finances are) sound and we kept the lid on taxes."
The former high school and college mathematics teacher has a master's degree in municipal finance. He also served as a West Chicago alderman for eight years and a parks commissioner for seven years.
Kwasman said Earley has been his "right arm" during work on such issues as the bonding structure of the water treatment plant. And in a news release announcing the referendum, he praised Earley as "an excellent steward of the taxpayers' dollars."
West Chicago is one of only five communities in DuPage County with elected treasurers. The others are Darien, Elmhurst, Warrenville and Wood Dale.
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