Last week, the Lyons Township Trustees of Schools, better known as the Township Treasurer’s Office (TTO), hired Kenneth T. Getty Jr. as its new treasurer replacing Susan Birkenmaier who is retiring.
Getty Jr., 37, is the brother of Lyons Village President and Lyons Township Supervisor Christopher Getty and the son of former Lyons Village President Ken Getty Sr., who was convicted of scheming to rig bids in 1998 during his time in office.
Getty Jr. has worked at the Lyons Township Treasurer’s Office for the past four years, starting out as a part-time special projects hourly employee, then becoming a financial analyst. For the last years, he’s been the office’s director of finance and operations.
Getty Jr. has an MBA from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Illinois University. He earned his chief school business officer’s endorsement after starting to work for the Lyons Township TTO.
The TTO manages funds and handles check writing and payroll for school districts located in Lyons Township and is governed by a three-person elected board, which unanimously voted to hire Getty.
“He has grown since he has started working within the treasurer’s office and has improved internal and financial controls,” said trustee board president Mike Thiessen in a press release. “Our board has total confidence he will succeed as the next treasurer.”
Another member of the board is Theron Tobolski, the brother of Cook County Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski, who is a political ally of Christopher Getty. The political committees of both Tobolski and Getty donate to one another frequently, and Thiessen also has donated money frequently to Tobolski’s committee in the past.
Birkenmaier, who has worked part-time as the treasurer for the last two years was hired in 2013. Her predecessor, Robert Healy, resigned after being charged with stealing more than $100,000 in school funds. In 2015, Healy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Birkenmaier said she is retiring to have a greater focus on family, friends, and fun.
She said that she thinks Getty Jr. will do a fine job as treasurer.
“I think he’ll be an outstanding treasurer,” Birkenmaier said. “He has worked hard to secure all of his credentials, and my experience working with him has been absolutely positive. He throws himself into the work and he makes sure that everything is done right. There’s accountability and transparency and he will be an outstanding treasurer.”
Getty Jr. brushed off suggestions that he was chosen for the job because of his political connections.
“I come in every day and work very hard and very diligently,” Getty said. “I refuse to be distracted by those comments and I continue to work hard.
“I know people will always say negative comments to try to rile me, but I’m very proud of the work I do and proud of the work we do at this office.”
Birkenmaier said that Getty was chosen from a field of five finalists. In all 19 people applied for job and eight were qualified. State law requires that a school treasurer be either a certified public accountant or have an endorsement as the chief school business officer. The treasurer must also live in the township in which he is the school treasurer for.
Getty received a two-year contract, which is mandated by state law, Birkenmaier said. His annual salary will be $140,000. Getty officially becomes township schools treasurer on July 1.