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A benefit, not a burden

Published: Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 4:11 p.m. CDT

Recently, I visited the county clerk's offices in Whiteside and Lee counties, where I reviewed township budget documents.

No one watched over me.

That was a far cry from Morrison Alderwoman Marti Wood's recent experience at City Hall. A front-office employee was assigned to watch her look over building inspection records in a basement office. Wood called that a waste of the employee's time.

Wood went through the same procedure late last year, except, then, the city barred her from taking notes. At the time, she was reviewing the city's legal bills.

During Wood's recent visit, City Administrator Jim Wise took her aside and asked her for the identity of the person with her. He said she should have informed the city beforehand.

The person, who formerly worked in construction, has a good handle on building inspection documents, she said.

At another job years ago, I brought along a semi-retired accountant to look at a district's financial records. He decided to go at the last minute, but no one at the district asked him who he was.

I appreciated his accountant's eye. 

In Morrison's case, personalities enter the equation. No love is lost between Wood and Wise. She often questions city spending and votes against many of Wise's proposals. That's nothing new. She's been a thorn in the city administration's side even before Wise took the helm. 

Wood is among a group of persistent questioners in Morrison. They include Harvey Zuidema and Terry Wilkens, who closely analyze city spending.

The more eyes, the better.

After I write a story, I like it when more editors read it before it goes into print. That increases the chances they'll catch my mistakes.

The same goes for the city. Interested citizens are a benefit, not a burden.

Sauk Valley Media reporter David Giuliani covers the Whiteside and Lee county governments, Morrison and other smaller communities. He can be reached at dgiuliani@saukvalley or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525.

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