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Local Editorials

What We Think: Kudos to city’s retiring clerk

Dixon residents owe a debt of gratitude to their retiring city clerk, Kathe Swanson, for blowing the whistle on the nation’s largest municipal theft scheme.

Dixon residents owe a lot to their retiring city clerk.

Kathe Swanson is the city official who, in October 2011, discovered the secret bank account where then-Comptroller Rita Crundwell deposited taxpayer dollars in a $53 million embezzling scheme that lasted more than 2 decades – said to be the largest municipal theft in U.S. history.

Thank goodness Swanson knew what to do. She shared her suspicions with then-Mayor Jim Burke, who contacted the FBI, which launched an investigation that led to Crundwell’s arrest in April 2012, her ouster, and later conviction and imprisonment.

Burke, in a retirement column in the spring of 2015, spoke of his appreciation for Swanson’s support and dedicated public service.

“Kathe and I will always have a special bond as the embezzlement was discovered and we secretly communicated with the FBI almost daily for 5 months,” Burke wrote.

Burke is no longer with us, having died in February, but today’s Dixon city leaders share his high opinion of their 25-year city clerk.

“I think Kathe has been very dedicated and very loyal to the city of Dixon,” City Manager Cole O’Donnell said. “Her wealth of knowledge is going to take awhile to replace.”

“Having somebody to turn to who has the knowledge and context of past city decisions has been very useful, especially for the first year [in office],” first-term Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said.

“She’s very much appreciated, and we thank her.”

We join the city’s past and present leaders in saluting Swanson for blowing the whistle on Crundwell, an act which, in retrospect, prompted a lot of positive change for the city.

The city will honor Swanson at a public retirement reception at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

To help repay a debt of gratitude, Dixonites should turn out in force to thank their retiring city clerk.

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