While Oak Park has an overflow of candidates for its diminishing village clerk post in April’s election, River Forest failed to scare up a single candidate for its elected clerk position. At least not a candidate who passed petitions and filed to get placed on the actual election ballot.

Instead, River Forest now has three write-in candidates for clerk. Two are actually certified as write-ins by the County Clerk while the third is a plain-old write-in.

This divergence of clerk fortunes raises a few thoughts. Namely, in this technological age, why do we need clerks? There are many easy ways to record meetings, generate and share minutes, post public meetings and whatever else makes up the official duties of these largely non-speaking clerk roles.

These are clerical duties which might better be handled by an administrative assistant in the office of the village manager or administrator. In Oak Park’s ongoing and overdue reorganization of services at village hall, the sundry other duties assigned to the clerk have gradually, and recently more rapidly, been peeled from the well-paid clerk’s job description.

That leaves the current crop of Oak Park clerk candidates sort of inventing some type of ombudsman role, as if elected trustees and the mayor cannot be expected to listen to the concerns of locals. They better be listening.

In Oak Park there has been quiet talk of eliminating the clerk’s post. But so far, no one has been up to the potentially risky task of making that call, setting in motion a citizen referendum to dump the job. The time to do it would have been with the coming retirement of Teresa Powell after two terms.

Everyone talks about streamlining government, and in Oak Park of potentially saving tax dollars. Time to make this a more focused discussion.

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