Friday, January 12, 2007

Article / HP News - Eliminate treasurer position

Highland Park City Council member Steven Mandel is finding it hard to make a sunset work.
Other council members might support his efforts to eliminate the city treasurer position, he said, if taxpayers knew what he was trying to do.
Although he likes appointed City Treasurer Ronald Zweig personally and professionally, Mandel wants to eliminate the position to save the city at least $5,000 a year.
As part of a series of adjustments to the city's advisory commissions, council members are considering changes to the city codes to more accurately reflect the duties of the city treasurer. Always an appointed position filled by a mayor, Mandel believes the changes now being discussed should include elimination of the position with its $5,000 annual salary and medical benefits. Mandel said the existing city finance officer, Elizabeth A. Holub, and the council Finance Committee eliminate the need for a city treasurer.
Mandel's view is not supported by other council members, and as a result he wants city residents to make known their views. He has said he can not carry the issue any further to have the position eliminated without community support. He wants residents to contact council members or himself about their opinion of the need to retain the position as a paid appointed office.
Before the pre-session discussion, Mandel said the treasurer position could end May 1, would save the city $5,000 a year and would eliminate another position from eligibility for participation in city health plans.
He noted that Zweig is a good person.
"He is very competent," said Mandel. "Ron is an asset to our finance committee and the community and should be kept on as an uncompensated member of the Finance Committee like all the other commissioners in our city. I like him."
Mayor Michael D. Belsky said, "This position has existed (historically) and I'm putting it to the best use possible."
A city treasurer, Belsky said, brings financial and investment expertise to the city. It is another set of independent eyes on city finances and the treasurer actively advises the city. He serves as part of the Finance Committee with Belsky, Jim Kirsch, and Larry Silberman.
The city treasurer serves as a voting member of the Fire Department Pension Board and as an ex-officio member of the Police Pension Board, signs transfers authorizing money to be moved among accounts, and also signs bonds. Belsky said that to eliminate the position would be to work against participatory government.
Council members Scott Levenfeld, Terri Olian, Jim Kirsch, and Silberman also expressed support for the position during the pre-session discussions Monday night.
During the discussion, Belsky told Mandel, "I know you're trying to do what is best for the city. We just happen to disagree."

Electronics Collection Program

The City of Highland Park, in partnership with the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, is sponsoring a collection program for outdated, broken, or unwanted household electronics. The next collection event will be held on Saturday, January 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Firearms Training Center, 1180 Half Day Road. The event will be open to household electronics only; no commercial, governmental, or institutional materials will be accepted. Click Here for a list of items that will be accepted at the event. For more information, contact Brandon Wright, Administrative Intern, at (847) 926-1030.