DIXON – The processes of examining various aspects of Dixon government seem to be moving along at a decent clip.
The governmental task force, charged with examining the city’s commission form of government, met Wednesday with East Peoria officials who have a hybrid commission system, while Police Chief Danny Langloss, special assistant to the City Council, offered a few updates on other committees looking for ways to streamline certain functions.
East Peoria Mayor David Mingus told the task force that their commission form of government, which utilizes a city administrator, has led to success in economic development.
“It’s given us the edge,” said Mingus, who along with Tom Brimberry, East Peoria city administrator, talked with the panel via teleconference.
“When you have elected officials involved from the get-go, you can bring the necessary people together and get things done quickly, because we don’t have to wait for the meeting to give that nod.”
Task force members also plan to talk to officials from Ottawa (also a commission form), Sterling, Rochelle, and Dixon about their various forms of government.
East Peoria, population 23,402, has an administrator in place to oversee day-to-day operations of the city, but commissioners have final say over the departments they are assigned. Brimberry is paid $112,000 a year, and its commissioners get $9,000.
East Peoria has been blessed to have a culture where politics have not been in the way, Mingus said. He credited a pledge of conduct accepted by all commissioners as a big reason why.
“That keeps the culture intact from the ground up,” the mayor said.
East Peoria still is evaluating its internal controls in regard to finance, he said, giving the task force a deja vu moment: Their city treasurer is a trusted employee of more than 20 years.
“It sounds to me like they might have a weak spot in their finance,” task force member Jack Schrauth said.
The task force will meet with Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard Wednesday, and with Ottawa and Rochelle officials on June 26.
Panel members plan to have their minds made up by August, then debate what should be recommended to the City Council.
Streamlining a trio of agencies
When it comes to a recommendation regarding the possible consolidation of services of Dixon Tourism, Main Street and the Riverfront, Langloss said there will be no recommendation to completely merge or abolish any of the three.
A committee has spent more than 20 hours talking in-depth with all three entities, and he likely will present its report at the July 1 City Council meeting, Langloss said.
The committee, consisting of Langloss, David Schreiner, KSB president and chief executive officer, and engineer Chris Blumhoff, now are reviewing revenues and drawing up the report, he said.
“We’re trying to access where visions can come together and overlap,” Langloss said. “Whatever we recommend, we know the organizations can’t lose their identities. They won’t lose their name recognition.”
Human resources audit
Langloss also said a report from the human resources policy audit is expected to be presented at the July 1 meeting.
Davenport, Iowa-based PJ Greufe & Associates has interviewed several key city employees and reviewed policies on the city’s books, and a survey is being passed out to all city employees to either create or update their job descriptions, Langloss said.
The human resources audit was recommended by Langloss shortly after it was revealed Former City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen used city-issued credit cards for personal use. The city had no credit card policy in place then, also exposing the need for other policy updates.
The governmental task force will meet with Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard at 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.
Go to www.discoverdixon.org and click on "Citizen's Information Center," then "Governmental task force" for an agenda, or call 815-288-1485.