Patch Election Q&A: Rob Watermann on Question #3
Rob Watermann's answer to our third question.
One candidate has suggested returning to a village administrator form of government. How do you feel about the current village manager system? Do you see this as an area where the village could save money?
Defining a village administrator vs. a village manager form of government all comes down to job description. Currently in the village of Montgomery we have a village manager who oversees the entire staff. This is as close to running the village as a business as you can get. The village manager is in essence the CEO of the village. The village board is just like a corporation’s board of directors, they are the policy makers. The village manager oversees the department heads that manage the various different entities of our community public works, police, finance, and development. Our current form of government is the most efficient, cost effective and professional way to manage a community our size.
Many years ago village trustees oversaw the various departments of the village. With the exception of one, all current trustees have full-time jobs. Would you want to wait until the next day to have an issue or problem addressed because the responsible trustee could not be reached during the day? When you insert an elected person to this type of position “politics” becomes a problem. This is where corruption and favors occur. Would you want a trustee that might not have even graduated from high school in charge of a $3,000,000 capital improvement project or would you feel more secure having a college educated engineer and career public works director managing the project? In Illinois, we only have to look to cities like Chicago and Cicero to see the evil that happens when elected people have complete and total control.
This issue is very serious and one of the most important differences between myself and other candidates running in this election. We need a system of checks and balances and as policy makers the board has oversight and final authority. Having well educated staff has brought our community many bonuses. Our village manager fought hard to make sure that Montgomery was the very first municipality in the entire nation to receive a special census. From this census and subsequent censuses, hundreds of thousands of dollars have come into our community. Just last week our public works department secured a grant for $10,000 to aid the ash borer infestation. Would any current trustee have the education, knowledge and ability to facilitate union negotiations? We need competent, talented and experienced staff to manage our daily operations.