The City of Batavia has placed two referendums on the ballot for the Consolidated Election on April 4, 2023. The questions are:
Shall the elected office of the City Clerk of the City of Batavia be abolished and the duties of the City Clerk be assigned to an appointed City Clerk?
Shall the elected office of the City Treasurer of the City of Batavia be abolished and the duties of the City Treasurer be assigned to the City Finance Director at no additional cost to the City?
Recent challenges to filling these two roles are the primary reason for the referendum.
In the past two elections, Batavia has had only one candidate for the position of clerk and each has decided not to run for re-election after their initial term. The responsibilities of a city clerk exceed what can reasonably be expected from someone with other full-time employment which drastically limits the pool of potential candidates. Both have indicated the workload was the most significant factor in their decision. Clerks have indicated the workload is such that there is no capacity to undertake larger projects such as organization, transparency, and other constituent services. A dedicated position could better provide those services.
In the 2021 election, there were no candidates for the position of city treasurer. While the city’s finance director would have been the most appropriate choice for appointment to the role, this was not possible because the person holding the position did not meet the city’s residency requirements, another limitation of this position being elected versus appointed. Instead, the city’s utility billing supervisor, a Batavia resident, was appointed to the role.
Moving the responsibilities to the city finance director position would eliminate the need for an elected position. The duties of the position would be assigned to the finance director, which is an appointed position.
Jan. 17, 2023, the Batavia City Council voted to place the two questions for the binding public referendums on the April 4 ballot.
Below are some answers regarding the referenda.