City of Monticello Administrative Assistant Jill Potts was given the dual role of city clerk and city collector by the city council on Feb. 25, shortly after aldermen approved the new position of collector in order to allow a current employee to assume the elected clerk duties.
The practice is not uncommon in smaller communities, which oftentimes will appoint the elected clerk to serve in a more day-to-day capacity as the town’s collector.
"Creation of the office of city collector is required to meet state statute because Jill is already a full-time employee receiving a salary separate from that of the city clerk, and because state statute does not allow for the adjustment of the city clerk’s salary during the term being served," City Administrator Terry Summers told aldermen at last week’s meeting.
The collector position in many ways mirrors the clerk one, allowing the office holder to perform duties that include being the keeper of the corporate seal, recording minutes of council and committee meetings, the publishing of ordinances, and serving as the city Freedom of Information Act officer.
"Jill currently performs many of these duties in her role as administrative assistant," added Summers.
The elected office of city clerk opened up with the resignation of Pam Harlan, who opted to accept an appointment to the city council. The clerk will remain as an elected position, while the collector one is appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
The new clerk
Potts, a Decatur native, graduated from Decatur Eisenhower High School in 1986, earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Millikin University in 1990 and a master’s degree in community counseling from Eastern Illinois University in 1995. She served as a counselor at an area agency for about 10 years..
She has been employed by the City of Monticello since 2010, first as a part-time recreation department employee, then was named as a full-time administrative assistant four years later.
This is her first time holding an elected office.
"It’s a good fit, because I do so much (of those duties) already. The minutes, the record keeping. I post agendas for council meetings. So other than being there at meetings, I was on the back side of it all the time anyway," said Potts.
"Our lawyer told us that a lot of municipalities are going this direction," said Potts of the collector position. One reason is that it has been difficult in some towns to find people to take the clerk position, where the pay is generally not large for the amount of state-mandated required duties.
She is not sure at this point if she will run for the elected position of clerk when her current term expires in 2021.
"I think I would be interested in that, but I would like to see how it goes," said Potts, a Monticello resident since 1996.
She and her husband have two children, a daughter who is a freshman at the University of Alabama and a son who is currently a sophomore at Monticello High School.
In other action, the council on Feb. 25:
–considered establishment of a Class "K" liquor license to accommodate temporary pop-up wine bars. Amendments were suggested, and the ordinance will likely come back before aldermen on March 11; and
–approved a final plat for Sage Crossing Subdivision, which will house a privately constructed medical office building.