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Milton merges clerk, treasurer positions

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Stacy Vogel
October 17, 2007
— Nancy Zastrow’s position just got a little weightier.

The Milton City Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to combine the positions of clerk and treasurer after failing to find a qualified candidate for its vacant treasurer spot. The new position will fall to Zastrow, the current city clerk.


Former Treasurer Laurie Sullivan resigned in early August. The city got three responses in its search for a replacement but wasn’t satisfied with any of the candidates, Administrator Todd Schmidt said.


“That then led us to the choice or decision-making point of, do we go back and advertise again, or do we consider some other options?” Schmidt said.


Zastrow and Schmidt recommended the city combine the positions. Zastrow feels qualified to handle the tasks of treasurer because she has served the last 18 years as the elected treasurer of the town of Watertown in Jefferson County, she said. She also worked closely with Sullivan, the outgoing treasurer.


“We helped each other with our jobs,” Zastrow said. “In fact, when Laurie came, she didn’t have any treasurer experience, so I taught her that stuff.”


The city will juggle positions to go along with the change. Administrative assistant Michelle Bestul will become the deputy clerk/treasurer, while the utility billing clerk will become the accounting services manager.


The city will hire a new part-time utility billing clerk and part-time administrative assistant.


Although the new structure will result in more staff working hours, it will save the city about $15,000 a year in pay and benefits, according to a reorganization proposal from Schmidt.


The savings come from losing one full-time department head, partially offset by hiring two part-time employees. Zastrow will receive a pay raise from about $50,000 a year now to $55,000, she said.


Several communities similar to Milton already have combined clerk/treasurer positions, Schmidt said.


One of those communities is the city of Edgerton, which combined the positions just over a year ago.


The change took some getting used to, but so far it has worked out well, Edgerton Clerk/Treasurer Cindy Hegglund said. The city hired a former financial director as a consultant to ease the transition process.


“We take it year-by-year to see if we can keep up, because the audit requirements are constantly changing,” she said.


Zastrow expects a little extra work for the Milton staff initially, but said she’s confident employees will adjust quickly.


“Initially, there’ll be a little more adjustment and a little training, but other than that, I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.



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