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updated: 6/16/2012 11:40 AM

Island Lake village clerk may become appointed position

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  • Jen Gomez

      Jen Gomez

 
 

Island Lake trustees said Thursday that they support asking residents to change the village clerk's job from an elected position to an appointed one.

Once the language of the question is drawn up and approved by the board, the plan could be put to voters as soon as the November election.

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Trustee Shannon Fox led the discussion at village hall. She said it makes more sense for the mayor and trustees to interview and hire a clerk rather than having a clerk chosen by "the political whims" of voters.

Having a clerk who is a village employee and not a politician also encourages qualified applicants who otherwise might not go after the job because they don't want to campaign, Fox said.

Jen Gomez has been the village clerk for about a year. She was appointed to the job after the previously elected clerk, Pam Miller, resigned midway through her term.

Near the end of the meeting, Gomez said she will resign effective June 26, citing unspecific "family obligations." Her term expires in 2013.

The four trustees present at Thursday's meeting backed the idea of a referendum about the clerk's post. Trustee Laurie Rabattini was absent.

State law allows villages with fewer than 5,000 residents to change the position from elected to appointed with a board vote. Support from at least two-thirds of the trustees is needed for approval, according to the statute.

Island Lake has more than 8,000 residents, however, so the board cannot make the decision. Instead, the issue must be put to voters.

Kittie L. Kopitke, the immediate past president of Municipal Clerks of Illinois, was aware of only one town that asked voters to consider changing the clerk from an elected to an appointed position.

That was Des Plaines, which put a question on the ballot in 2000 at the request of then-Clerk Donna McAllister, who wanted the clerk's job to be exempt from the city's term limits. The proposal was overwhelmingly rejected.

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