Voters in the City of Monticello will be asked March 17 whether to change the city clerk position from an elected to an appointed one.

The city had taken a step in that regard in February, changing city code to allow City Collector Jill Potts to also serve as city clerk.

Mayor Larry Stoner said having a full-time city employee in charge of minutes and other records has worked out well in its test run.

“It’s made business much easier,” Stoner told the city council on Nov. 25. “We get stuff done, signed, minutes are done the next day. Things just run much more smoothly than when you have an elected official from the outside who has another job. It takes them time to get it done.

“This being part of Jill’s job, it gets done in a timely fashion and she does a nice job. I would like to continue to have an appointed clerk if we can,” added the Mayor.

The council voted 6-1 to put the issue on the March 17 ballot. Voter approval is required for the change to go into effect at the end of the clerk’s current term in May of 2021.

Voting against it was Alderman Rodney Burris, who was concerned the person holding the role of clerk could be replaced at the whim of mayors, which could mean someone outside of city hall.

City Administrator Terry Summers promised that, either way, Potts would be keeping her day job in city hall, even if not appointed as clerk.

It was also pointed out that other city officers, including the administrator and police chief, are also appointed by the mayor, with the advice and consent of the city council.

Since Monticello is not a home rule community, a successful ballot issue is needed to make the change. The binding referendum will state, “Shall the City Clerk of Monticello be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council rather than elected?”

Potts was appointed clerk in addition to her city collector post by the council after the resignation of Pam Harlan, who stepped down to serve as a city council member. City attorneys said at the time that staff members holding the dual role of collector and clerk is not uncommon in smaller communities.

Treasurer pay increased

Aldermen also increased the pay of the appointed city treasurer position from $200 to $500, also at the request of the mayor, who said the position is demanding enough to warrant the increase.

Brian McDowell currently serves as city treasurer.