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posted: 6/29/2012 11:01 AM

Island Lake voters to decide if clerk should be elected or appointed

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  • Jen Gomez, Island Lake's former village clerk

      Jen Gomez, Island Lake's former village clerk

 
 

Island Lake voters will decide in November if the village clerk should continue to be elected or if the position should become a staff job.

The clerk has historically been an elected officer in Island Lake and in most suburbs, with the position on the ballot every four years like the mayor and trustees.

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But earlier this month, Trustee Shannon Fox proposed making the clerk an appointed job, one who would be nominated by the mayor and approved by the village board.

Having an appointed clerk could create some stability in the office, Fox said during Thursday night's board meeting. It also opens up the pool of candidates to people who live outside Island Lake, as well as to people who might not want to campaign for elected office, she said.

After a brief discussion, trustees opted to let voters decide how the clerk is chosen.

The referendum will appear on Nov. 6 ballots in Island Lake, and it will be binding.

If voters support the change, it would be up to the mayor to reappoint the clerk every four years or find a new one, village attorney Julie Tappendorf said.

Of the five trustees at Thursday's meeting, only one opposed the proposal.

Steve Stiller, who was appointed to fill a vacancy earlier in the meeting, said he believes residents should decide who serves as clerk, not the mayor or trustees.

Trustee Chuck Cermak disagreed, saying elections sometimes can be a popularity contest.

"This ensures the clerk is qualified for the job, rather than being a friend of (the voter)," he said.

Island Lake doesn't have a village clerk now. The previous clerk, Jen Gomez, resigned earlier this month.

Her departure was unrelated to Fox's proposal.

Gomez had been appointed to the job in 2011, replacing Pam Miller. Miller was elected in 2009 but quit in the middle of her term.

Mayor Debbie Herrmann is searching for a replacement to finish Gomez's term.

The clerk is next up for election in spring 2013.

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