Evanston clerk recognized as ‘Rookie of the Year’


Bernard Wen/The Daily Northwestern

City clerk Rodney Greene shows off his Rookie of the Year award. Greene was recognized by the Municipal Clerks of Illinois.

Susan Du, City Editor

City clerk Rodney Greene has been named Rookie of the Year by the Municipal Clerks of Illinois, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl announced at Monday’s city council meeting.

Evanston city clerk for four years, Greene isn’t often called a “rookie,” but because the criteria for “Rookie of the Year” applies to clerks who have been in office for five years or less, Greene was eligible for nomination.

The municipal clerks group  traditionally gives the award to a city, town or village clerk who has “resolved a difficult problem, provided strong leadership during a crisis or brought new vitality and professionalism to a community,” MCI president Petie Ruch said.

The award aims to encourage municipal clerks to stay in the position by recognizing their work. Clerks are nominated by peers, citizens or other elected officials.

“It was somewhat of a surprise for me, but a good surprise,” Greene said. “I feel very honored and humble because the thing is you don’t know exactly how you affect people with your daily work, and something like this shows that you made a positive effect on someone. It makes you feel good to know you’re doing your job and you’re doing it to the best of your ability.”

Greene said he was recognized specifically for implementing the real-estate transfer tax form, which allows those who work in Evanston yet live in Chicago to go online, submit the form and obtain their real-estate transfer tax stamp.

The real-estate transfer tax applies to transferring property titles and specifies that if a transferred property is subject to a mortgage, that mortgage is not part of the basis for taxation.

Greene added that he was also nominated for “creating an atmosphere of cooperation and trust among the employees of the Civic Center” and for allowing elderly residents to move forward in line when they turned up at the center for early voting.

An anonymous city staff member nominated Greene for the Rookie of the Year award, which is in its third year. His recognition marks the first time the MCI has granted the award to an Evanston clerk, Ruch said. Previous winners are the clerks of Maple Park and Hoffman Estates.

“We didn’t really have an award for clerks who are just beginning in the profession,” Ruch said of the MCI board’s decision to establish the award. “And this would be a way to honor a clerk each year at our annual meeting.”

For now, Greene keeps the arrowhead-shaped award on his desk as a reminder of why he works as a city clerk.

“My philosophy is that the best customer is a happy customer, but really what I think about is to do the best I can for everybody who walks through my door so they leave with a genuine feeling that they have been listened to and they got what they needed,” he said. “It’s not going to change me because it’s what I do anyway, helping people. It’s second-nature to me.”

Greene said he plans to run for re-election in April.