where we stand With Dubuque County deputy recorder pulling double duty, it’s time to reconsider whether elected position of recorder is needed.
A split Dubuque County Board of Supervisors made a good decision this week in filling the role of county recorder with a longtime employee willing to take on added duties. But the discussion of the future of the position shouldn’t stop there.
It was a positive development for the county that Karol Kennedy is filling the vacancy created when John Murphy resigned as of Jan. 3 after being reelected last year. Kennedy had been serving as the county’s deputy recorder and has worked in the county recorder’s office for 32 years. Among a handful of others vying for the appointment, Kennedy was unique in that her appointment saved the county thousands of taxpayer dollars. While she will collect the salary assigned to the recorder, the dollars designated for the deputy recorder salary will go unspent.
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That was a major selling point for County Supervisor Harley Pothoff, who joined Ann McDonough in voting for Kennedy’s appointment. Supervisor Wayne Kenniker voted against it.
That Kennedy is confident she effectively can handle both roles should be reason enough to further explore the consolidation of positions. Any time a government position is vacated in this way, it’s fair and frugal to take a hard look at the duties assigned to the role and determine whether efficiencies could be found.
County Auditor Kevin Dragotto, who had been managing both his office and the recorder’s office since Murphy’s departure, believes a merger would be a great idea. If Kennedy can handle the workload, and Dragotto can handle the management of the office, why would the county continue to pay an extra salary?
Making such a change doesn’t rest with county supervisors, however. It would take an effort by county residents — and citizens should make the effort.
Residents would have to submit a petition calling for the change in order for a proposed merger to be put on the ballot, perhaps as early as November 2024. The number of signatures required for such a petition would be equal to at least 25% of the total votes cast in the highest-vote-receiving county office in the most recent election. That means petitioners would need to secure nearly 10,000 signatures to mark a quarter of the ballots cast in the Dubuque County attorney election last year.
While it would take a concerted effort to gather that many signatures, it’s a project worth undertaking. By the time such a measure would come to a ballot, voters will have had two years to observe how the system is working with Kennedy handling both jobs. That would be more than enough time to determine whether the system can work with fewer people.
County supervisors have set the table for this to play out. Whether the county saves tens of thousands of dollars in salary comes down to the efforts of citizens.
Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.
It's becoming more and more obvious politicians don't give a rats behind about voters.
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