PEORIA — Members of the Peoria County Board will continue to refine a proposal to let voters decide whether to eliminate the elected auditor position.
Board members on the panel's executive committee heard a preliminary report Tuesday afternoon on their options in putting such a measure on the ballot in 2018.
County Board members have been informally considering the issue since longtime officeholder Carol VanWinkle abruptly resigned late last year and CPA Kent Rotherham was tapped to fill the post for two years until an election for the remainder of the term.
County Administrator Scott Sorrel's report noted that many of the functions required for counties to complete under the statute addressing auditors are performed by other departments.
Board members could ask voters to eliminate the elected job and fold it into the finance department — a non-starter for some board members because of some separation-of-duties issues.
Likewise not getting any traction was the notion of eliminating the post and contracting with some other government to perform the work.
But members showed some interest in asking voters to eliminate the elective job and perhaps make it an appointed one instead.
"If they're appointed, you can require other professional qualifications for the job," board member Stephen Morris said, noting that effectively now the only requirements are being over the age of 18 and living in the county.
Board member Allen Mayer emphasized that if the board moved forward, the position needed to "have independence from everybody else in the organization."
Among the options would be crafting a term of appointment that lasts longer than those of County Board members.
The committee is likely to hear refined versions of the proposal in coming months, and it's also unclear whether — if it were put to voters and they approved it — the existing, elected job could go away at the end of Rotherham's fill-in term on Dec. 1, 2018, or if it's required to continue through the end of the full term in 2020.
Board members would have to vote at their December meeting this year to put it on the ballot if they want the public to weigh in during the primary election next March. They have through next August's meeting if it's to go on the November general election ballot.
Tazewell County Board members are having a similar discussion about their elected auditor post.