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DuPage water commission seeking leader
By Jake Griffin | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/15/2010 12:11 AM

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In the midst of a financial crisis and facing the fiscal year's end with the need for a new budget looming, the DuPage Water Commission began discussing hiring a full-time financial administrator Thursday.

The process might not be so daunting if not for the fact that the last financial administrator left the commission three months ago with a reserve fund depleted to the tune of $19 million, which turned out to be a surprise to everyone including commissioners and the commission's general manger.

About the only hiring aspect the commissioners agreed on Thursday was that they didn't want to hire a firm to conduct a national search. Instead, the job will be advertised locally and a search team made up of four financial and human resource officials - two from the county and two from commission municipalities - will pore over the applications to come up with a set of finalists who will likely be interviewed by the full commission.

"I think we can find more than enough applicants in our area to apply for that job," said commissioner and Carol Stream Mayor Frank Saverino. "I can't see spending the money right now to hire a search firm when it's something we can do."

But commissioners want more time to revise the position's job description, seemingly wanting the new financial administrator to report directly to the commission instead of the general manager. Some commissioners suggested making the position the head of the water commission and reducing the general manager's responsibilities.

"At the very least I think the finance department should be separate from the general manager," said commissioner and county board member Jim Zay. "The way we've been doing it for years ain't working and maybe we should look at how business does this, because if a business did it like us, they'd be out of business."

The new fiscal year begins May 1. Commissioners also approved some expenditures Thursday, using funds from a $30 million loan they recently received to help cover the reserve depletion. More than $8 million was scheduled to be paid out.