Batavia voters will determine fates of clerk, treasurer positions

Batavia voters will decide if the city clerk should be appointed instead of elected and if the city treasurer job should be abolished.

The Batavia City Council this week agreed to put both questions on the April 4 ballot.

"Having these be appointed positions allows us to set the criteria for which there are qualifications for these positions," City Administrator Laura Newman said. "It allows us to hold those in the positions accountable and manage the performance of the work that is performed."

If the city treasurer position were abolished, all duties of the office would be assumed by the city finance director.

"The justification for this is that we have not had a candidate in the last election for the treasurer position and that most of that role is already being performed by the finance director," Newman said.

Batavia Utility Billing Supervisor Jennifer Fox was appointed treasurer after no one ran for the position during the 2021 election.

Newman said the city clerk position, currently held by Kate Garrett, would be changed to an appointed role due to the position's heavy workload, which the last two incumbents have noted was too much for someone who already has a full-time job.

"We think it is in the best interest of the city to have these be appointed versus elected positions," she said. "This is no reflection on those individuals who have held those positions."

Newman said the city clerk position may also see a salary increase.

"I think everybody on the council understands here what we're trying to do to clean (the positions) up so that (they're) more accurate and manageable and pay what it's really worth," said Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke. "The city clerk position is quite valuable to us. And when it comes time for election petitions and certifications on referendums and all this other stuff, it's a pretty vital role."

Changes would not take effect until after the current terms for both positions have expired.

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