Endorsement: Yes to appoint Round Lake clerk
It isn't often voters have to decide whether to drop an elected office from future ballots, but Round Lake faces such a decision April 4. At issue is the referendum question that asks to change the village clerk from an elected office to a job filled by mayoral appointment.
In Round Lake, clerk candidates have been elected every four years for a job whose duties that taking notes at village board meetings, other paperwork-related tasks and administering oaths. It has evolved from a full-time position that once paid $20,000 per year to a part-time post that now pays $4,200. It carries no voting or policy-making responsibilities and doesn't require any qualifications. The clerk answers only to voters.
The biggest benefit of the proposed change would be allowing Round Lake officials to consider job candidates based on qualifications and ability, just as other staff members are evaluated and hired, according to Village Administrator Steve Shields.
That's important because the digitization of records has increased demand for technical ability and understanding, including a knowledge of software systems, officials say.
Many current duties would be spread among village hall staff, and the appointed clerk would be part of the management team reporting to the village administrator, Shields said.
Of 52 municipalities in Lake County, 19 have appointed clerks. While such a change might not be appropriate everywhere, we agree it makes sense in a smaller town like Round Lake that has downsized the position. We recommend a "yes" vote.
Incumbent Patty Blauvelt is not seeking another term in the current election, but Maria Simoncelli is running unopposed. If the question is approved, the clerk would become an appointed post in 2021.