In Grafton Township, there is a re-match between incumbent Al Zielinski and Teresa de Blatz.
One of the issues is whether the job is full-time or part-time.
Both candidates answered a question about the subject in their McHenry County League of Women Voters’ survey:
Grafton is the third largest township in McHenry County. Do you see the Assessor position as full time? How many staff members, other than the assessor, do you feel are necessary to perform the duties of the office?
Terra de Baltz
The most common work setup in surrounding assessment offices is full-time with regular business hours.
The Grafton Township assessor’s office currently adheres to this model and I have no intentions of deviating from this practice.
It is essential staff be accessible to taxpayers to accommodate questions and concerns in addition to fulfilling their day-to-day duties to meet the demands of managing 22,000+ parcels.
While the current assessor salary and omitted benefit options were established with the intention of designating the assessor position as part time, I am confident that I can train a reasonable number of efficient employees to represent me and service the community to the same standards and quality of any other professional office.
Though I intend to be present as much as possible, I am confident that the implementation of select new processes and my high expectations of my staff to properly communicate with the taxpayers as well as myself, will allow the office to run smoothly full time even in my absence.
Even so, I will always be available for a taxpayer that needs to speak with me directly.
Grafton’s size (parcel count and Equalized Assessed Value, EAV) deserves a full-time assessor.
Grafton ranks second in equalized assessed value ($1.8 billion) and third in parcel count (21,656).
My opponent currently makes $67,000/year with full benefits as a Deputy Assessor in Elgin Township.
My hope is she will be asked for firm confirmation that, should she be elected, she will leave her current position and accept $40,000/year and no benefits at Grafton Township.
It’s impossible for anyone to adequately serve Grafton’s taxpayers on a part-time basis.
My Deputies will attest to the extra hours I put in on nights and weekends in service to the township.
Prior to my taking office, the assessor’s office had a staff of seven comprised of CIAO-certified Deputies and clerical help.
When I took office, we had five CIAO-certified Deputies and no clerical assistance.
The parcel count and EAV then was much smaller.
Currently, we have two CIAO-certified Deputies who will be leaving in 2022 to run their own townships.
We have one database clerk who maintains our monumental database (almost two terabytes of data).
At the January, 2021 township meeting, the township Board expressed displeasure with the database clerk indicating it was an unnecessary position in spite of me stressing it frees the CIAO-certified Deputies to focus on valuation issues versus data entry and maintenance duties.
Per the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/2-20), the Board sets the assessor’s budget.
Since I took office, the salary premise has been pay for performance not time in seat.
That motivated the Deputies to attain their advanced CIAO designations (the second highest available) benefitting Grafton Township property owners in the process.
The compensation system used since 2014 hasn’t changed and is based on the sound foundation explained above as well as offering market-competitive wages.
If the Board plans to repeat history by removing the IPAI CIAO training for new employees from next year’s budget, it will severely cripple the office regardless of who is the Assessor.