Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Remove Images

Voters could weigh in on treasurer

by Chris Schultz

June 07, 2012

The Lake Geneva City Council stated its preference for an appointed city treasurer at its May 29 meeting.

But it's not a done deal.

State law gives city voters a chance to weigh in, if they want.

The ordinance becomes official 60 days after passage provided a properly filed petition for referendum is not filed by then.

By state law, if within 60 days of publishing the ordinance, a petition signed by electors of the municipality equal to not less than 7 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last general election is filed with the municipal clerk, then the charter ordinance must be submitted to a referendum and approved by a majority of the electors.

The ordinance is being published today in the Lake Geneva Regional News.

City Clerk Mike Hawes said a petition to put the ordinance on the ballot would need at least 156 signatures. He said he would help with the wording of such a petition, or those wanting to circulate a petition may get the wording off the state Government Accountability Board website, gab.wi.gov.

The charter ordinance was approved 5-2, with council members Alan Kupsik, Sarah Hill, Jeff Wall, Gary Hougen and William Mott voting for and council members Arleen Krohn and Ellyn Kehoe opposed.

The ordinance not only makes the city treasurer position an appointed one, it combines the position with the deputy clerk's position.

The city treasurer is currently paid $16,000 a year. The deputy clerk position pays $36,889, Hawes said.

The salary of the combined position would have to be set by the council's personnel committee, Hawes said.

The combined city treasurer-deputy clerk position would be under the city clerk's office. The ordinance would take effect when City Treasurer Teresa Klein's term is up in 2014. This year, City Treasurer Teresa Klein ran unopposed for her second term as treasurer. The treasurer's position has statutory duties, Klein said.

The city treasurer is required to collect real and property taxes for the city. The treasurer is also required to balance the city cash drawer and make daily deposits at the bank specified by city ordinance.

A new duty was added this year, after the city went to the parking kiosks. The kiosks report all credit card transactions directly to the bank, Klein said. The treasurer's new duty is to collect the deposit slips from those electronic transactions and return them to the city.

The move to combine the two positions was based on an internal controls audit the city received December 2009 from Schenk SC, the city auditors. The report noted that while the current elected treasurer adequately performed her duties, few city governments in Wisconsin maintain elected treasurers.

The report recommended the city "review this position to determine if it would be better suited as an appointed position under the direction of the city controller to provide opportunities to better utilize this position in financial reporting processes."

The personnel committee reviewed the report and at its Nov. 22, 2011 and March 27 meetings recommended combining the positions. The topic was discussed at the committee of the whole meeting on May 7. The council took up the issue on April 9 and May 14 before approving merging the two positions on May 29.