Blythe: Why not cut aldermen?

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Treasurer says cutting size of council would save $18,000 a year

By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

One month after the Vandalia City Council made a change in the city treasurer’s post to cut its expenses, the current treasurer suggested another cost-saving measure – cutting the number of aldermen in half.
No one at the council table responded to her suggestion.

At the end of Monday’s city council meeting, Marjorie Blythe said she learned this past weekend that Charleston – which has a population of 21,000 and a state university – has only four aldermen.
Therefore, she said, couldn’t Vandalia – with a population of 7,000, including Vandalia Correctional Center – also operate with just four aldermen?
Cutting the size of the city council in half would save the city $18,000 a year, or $72,000 over the four-year terms of four aldermen.
Blythe made the suggestion a month after the council voted to change the treasurer from an elected position to an appointed one, with some aldermen noting that many of the treasurer’s duties are already performed by the city clerk’s staff.
The council’s action also dropped the salary of the treasurer from a little more than $14,000 to $4,000.
Blythe told the council she was making the suggestion to cut aldermen because they said in making the changes to the treasurer’s office that they were looking for ways to save money.
“I was thinking about ways you might, indeed, save money, if that was truly what you had in mind,” said Blythe, who told aldermen at the July 16 meeting she believed the change with the treasurer's position was directed at her.
“Since four of you have two years left on your current terms, I would suggest that four of you resign, effective April 30, 2013, and if you so desire, run again, along with the four members whose current terms expire on April 30, 2013.
“Probably nothing will come of my suggestion, but if you are, indeed, serious about saving the city money, as you said you were, maybe you should consider it and act on it,” Blythe said.
“Since it would need to be in place before Oct. 1, 2012, I’m sure the city attorney can get a resolution together during the next month," she said.
“I think the citizens of Vandalia who elected you, and me, would appreciate your efforts, since they did not have a voice in the July undertaking." said.