Niles treasurer resignation shocks administration
By Jordan Cohen
Janet Rizer-Jones, city treasurer for less than two years, submitted her resignation to a shocked Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia on Monday.
“I never expected this,” said the mayor, who has frequently praised Jones’ work.
Her resignation was effective at the close of business last Friday.
With an annual salary of $7,500, the city treasurer post is only part-time. Jones said that expecting a treasurer to meet all the demands of the office on a limited basis is unrealistic and led to her decision to leave.
“It’s a part-time job requiring more than full-time hours [and] they really need to look into that,” she told The Vindicator several hours after handing her resignation letter to the mayor. “Unfortunately, I have other obligations,” she said.
“You can only do so much part-time, and she has been spending full days here,” the mayor said. “She is very qualified but it was just all too much.”
Scarnecchia said Jones spent a substantial amount of time in the office in which she basically worked for free.
Jones was appointed by the mayor and approved by the Democratic Central Committee in June 2016. Her appointment followed the resignation of Robert Swauger, who was strongly criticized after the discovery of income-tax checks that had remained in unopened boxes for several months. At the time, administration of the income-tax office was the treasurer’s responsibility.
Jones, who previously had worked for several decades in the treasurer office, was able to eliminate the issues and establish regular deposits according to the state-appointed fiscal supervisors. However, as part of its recovery plan from more than three years in fiscal emergency, the city abolished the income tax office and contracted tax collections with the Regional Income Tax Agency – a move Jones opposed.
“That is public, but it’s not the reason I’m stepping down,” she said.
Scarnecchia said he plans to nominate Jones’ successor by Feb. 19. “I’ll be looking for someone with banking experience,” the mayor said. As was the case with Jones, his appointment will have to meet the approval of the Democratic Central Committee.
The mayor said that only one employee is left in the treasurer’s office and “she’s off sick with the flu” while another position is still vacant. Scarnecchia said he had to transfer a city employee with previous experience back to the office to help with the workload.
Jones’ resignation letter does not mention the restrictions of the part-time position. Instead, it only states she plans to further her career elsewhere.
“Thank you and the community for giving me the opportunity to serve the city of Niles,” she wrote.