Voters will decide if village clerk is elected or appointed in Campton Hills

The village of Campton Hills has a binding referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot on whether the village clerk should be appointed or elected.

Village Administrator Denise Burchard said it's been difficult to get someone to serve in the elected position, which is part-time and pays $10,000.

"There is a lot involved," Burchard said. "The clerk takes minutes and is the keeper of the records, and be FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) officer. It's a lot of responsibility. They may work full time and just do meeting minutes. A lot of times, the extra work - the staff does it anyway."

If voters choose to have an appointed clerk, the person would be paid $20,000 a year for 20 hours per week. The other duties would be split between the appointed clerk, Burchard and the village's current executive assistant/deputy clerk.

"They would be partly responsible for a variety of duties, in addition to being clerk," Burchard said. "FOIA requests take a lot of time and energy. There's liquor licensing. Doing the video gaming licensing. Helping with the record-keeping, adjudication of hearings, This would be a position with a variety of duties in addition to clerking since we are a small team here. We would divide the duties amongst us."

The cost is already in the village's budget, she said.

Other Kane County municipalities that have appointed village clerks are Burlington, Elburn, Gilberts, Hampshire, Lily Lake, Maple Park, Pingree Grove and Sugar Grove.

Deborah Muller, past president of the Municipal Clerks of Illinois, said its membership was about 50-50 between appointed and elected clerks.

"There is value in each direction," Muller said. "Elected clerks feel they have a constituency behind them, and they really represent their municipalities because of being elected."

Appointed clerks can be fired, but they also tend to feel that they don't have to campaign and just actually focus on the job, Muller said.

"That is not to say elected clerks don't focus on the job," said Muller, who has been the city clerk in Charleston for 20 years. "That's just some of the reasoning behind it. I'm an appointed clerk. We have not ever moved toward having an elected clerk in this community, and it has worked."

In either case, municipal clerks' responsibilities are determined by state law, she said.

The last village clerk in Campton Hills was Lynn Baez, who was elected as a write-in candidate in 2021. She resigned in May because she moved out of the village. The village board approved the referendum question on Aug 16.

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