Competence and public service - that’s the job of the city clerk. However, it appears that Moline’s city clerk possesses neither of these traits.
Municipal elections are only held every other year. Most candidates are unfamiliar with the filing process. As a public servant, the clerk should counsel candidates on all relevant aspects of the filing process, provide them with a checklist of common oversights, and thoroughly review their filings to point out any obvious errors. With so few individuals filing so infrequently, this is not a burdensome request, and it encourages good citizens to run for city office. It is the essence of public service.
The clerk should also be an expert on election law. Her failure to realize that the 7th Ward required an election this year is unacceptable. Her initial refusal to accept petitions from those applying as write-in candidates for mayor was illegal and unprofessional, as was her refusal to make copies of these filings until ordered to do so by 7th Ward Alderman Michael Waldron.
I believe the long-known animosity between the clerk and Alderwoman at-large Stephanie Acri was a factor in the shameful election protest by the mayor and in the clerk’s actions to block write-in candidates from filing. Without a city administrator, it is incumbent on the Moline City Council to evaluate the filing process and the performance of the city clerk. Had she acted in the public interest, this embarrassing situation would have been avoided. This is not the kind of government Moline deserves. Something needs to change.