Salted with Sharks

The Best $15,000 a Year We Will Ever Spend

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2016 at 3:02 pm
Editorial by Emily Votruba
I don’t do this very often (even when it hurts not to) but I am going to voice a strong a opinion regarding Village governance. If you’ve been seeing improvements around the Village, and you’ve had a positive and helpful interaction with our Village clerk, Catherine Anderson, I strongly urge you to take a moment to contact members of the Village council and encourage them to approve a separate contract with additional pay for Cathy so we can keep her here.
Cathy has asked for a reasonable additional compensation of $15,000 a year on a contract basis to continue to go above and beyond her normal clerk duties (paid hourly). There would be no new precedent set for the clerk position. Basically, Cathy would have two positions: clerk, and contractor, continuing to handle the extra, nonclerk duties that she has taken on so successfully for free till now: applying for and overseeing grants, managing building projects, managing contracts, and building and improving and maintaining our website. These are all things we would have had to (as we have in the past) either hire out or find volunteers to handle. (Hey, have you voluntarily written a grant for the Village yet? Yeah, there are three of you out there that I know of. Thanks. Want to do it again?)

In her time as Village clerk over the past couple of years, Anderson has managed to do what no one had done for years before: produce a balanced budget and drive down our Village General Fund deficit, which once put us in line for an emergency manager, from over $600K to under $200K. We are now, finally, after years of mismanagement (yes, I said mismanagement) correcting our course. We are on track to eliminate our deficit by the year 2021, and the State is pleased with our progress. This year we actually banked over $147K. In contrast, a few years ago we spent over $10,000 on a contractor to produce a deficit elimination plan. It was about 20 pages long, made no sense, involved selling the Farmers’ Market Park, and was summarily rejected by the State. Cathy’s deficit elimination plans, in contrast, have cost the Village nothing additional and have produced this incredible financial turnaround. She’s managed this in addition to her organizational skills in the office, creating and maintaining our public records, creating and managing contracts correctly so that we’re in compliance with State law (which was NOT being done before), saving us thousands of dollars in legal bills by actually reading and applying her brain to things that used to just get sent to the attorney for review because let’s face it, council members and volunteers just didn’t have the time or skills to do it, all while adhering strictly to policies and procedures adopted by the Village with the approval of State. Let’s not interrupt this flow of positive activity, and ensure that we not only survive, but thrive. We are in a better position than we have been in in decades.
Yes, it takes a Village, but in a Village this size, it sure helps to have one incredible rockstar keeping things transparent, accountable, accounted for, and efficient. If you see improvements in services and the appearance of the Village, Cathy has had a hand in it. From the Little Community Garden to the new Village sign going up this week, to renewed garbage bag sales at the office, signage and improvements at Elberta Dunes South Natural Area, bike racks, memorial benches at the Waterfront Park, ongoing improvements to the Life Saving Station, and the $50K we got from the USDA for a permanent restroom facility at the Farmers’ Market/Minipond park! … the list goes on. And she’s done it all while helping us IMPROVE our financial situation. She’s saved and earned us literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, and she has the will and the ability to do even more. Please call Village President Diane Jenks, and/or trustees Holly O’Dwyer, Ken Holmes, Joyce Gatrell, or Bill Soper and urge them to approve this salary increase so she can afford to stay here in this job among us.
Cathy has made it possible for us to do better work here, to create the kind of Village we want to live in. Her work ethic and her ethics in general are inspiring. We need her. *I* need her.
  1. NICE article!!!

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