Dixon mayor making advisory board list
Task force to exam other forms of government
DIXON – Dixon’s unusual form of government has received heaps of criticism since the arrest of the city’s former comptroller.
Under the commission form of government, commissioners and the mayor oversee the city’s various departments. But that, some critics say, doesn’t replace a full-time professional city manager.
Ex-Comptroller Rita Crundwell faces a charge of federal wire fraud in connection what prosecutors say is the misappropriation of $53 million in city funds since 1990, a fraud that experts say likely was made easier by the lack of oversight.
The mayor has proposed creating an advisory task force to look into all forms of municipal government allowed under state law and to recommend one to the City Council within a year.
“I want to recommend people for this task force who are interested in being on this thing and then will evaluate this whole thing objectively,” Mayor Jim Burke said.
“I don’t want to put anybody on this thing who has an agenda or has a closed mind. I’m going to ask them to keep a open mind and not come in with a fixed idea.”
State law allows five forms of municipal government: aldermanic, commission, managerial, strong mayor, and trustee.
Some, such as aldermanic, divvy up the city geographicall. Only the commission form has the elected officials who oversee specific city departments.
Burke emphasized that he didn’t think the commission form should be excluded from consideration.
He expects to narrow a list of 10 to 15 names that he has – and he’s still accepting recommendations and applications – to a group of seven. If the panel gets too big, it might get unwieldy, Burke said.
The council then will consider those names and the task force’s mission. Burke expects to have his list of seven by the council’s second August meeting.
Task force members would be expected to meet at least once a month, and those meetings would be open to the public, Burke said. They will be encouraged to meet with officials from other government bodies and get informed feedback.
Sterling, for example, has a city manager who hires all the department heads except the city clerk and attorney and has them report to him. Rock Falls, on the other hand, has a city administrator, who sits on the personnel committee but does not have a vote on who is hired. Both cities divide their elected officials by wards.
Dixon’s commission members are elected at-large.
The advisory task force probably should be allocated some money, maybe $1,000, for expenses, Burke said.
Want to get on board?
Mayor Jim Burke is accepting names for the city’s governmental advisory task force.
Suggestions, résumés or expressions of interest can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to Re: Governmental Advisory Task Force, Dixon City Hall, 121 W. Second St., Dixon IL 61021.
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