ISLAND LAKE – The Island Lake village clerk now will be accessible at Village Hall during normal village hours, the Village Board decided Thursday evening.
Village Clerk Teresa Ponio was appointed to be the village collector, a bookkeeping position the board also expanded to full time.
The goal is to improve communication with residents, said Village President Charles Amrich, who proposed the change.
Since being elected in April, Amrich also hired back a former Island Lake police chief, who Amrich said would improve the department’s responsiveness and presence in the community.
When Amrich was village president from 1985 to 2005, the clerk had served as collector. Other area communities also have the positions combined.
The positions were separated in 2008, but the ordinance allows the board to appoint someone, including the clerk, to the position. Currently, the post is held by a part-time clerical employee, who will stay on, Amrich said.
“You’ll be able to come in there, and the clerk will be there,” Amrich said. “Usually the clerk is the one that handles [Freedom of Information Act requests], and of course being not a full-time employee, they have a hard time filling the FOIA requests.”
Ponio agreed the change will be positive for residents, adding that a few clerks had quit because they couldn’t handle all the duties with the time they had.
The move is a way for the village to get around the law, Trustee Shannon Fox said in an email ahead of the meeting. State law prohibits changes to elected positions – including changes in pay – to be made during that term.
Fox also questioned the need to make the position full-time, saying past clerks were able to get the work done in 20 hours at $15 per hour without benefits.
With the appointment, Ponio will receive benefits like any other full-time employee, Amrich said. She will earn $18 per hour, retroactive to May 10.