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Photo by Wendy Davis

Iroquois County Board member Leanne Duby gives reasons in support of why the animal control administrator’s salary shouldn’t be increased in FY20.

There was a contested matters at Tuesday morning’s Iroquois County Board meeting.

Pulled for separate consideration was the motion to increase animal control administrator Hany Youssef’s annual salary from $12,000 to $15,000. Leanne Duby made the motion, and the vote was 11-6 to separate it.

She said, just as it was mentioned by Sherry Johnson at the finance committee meeting, the salary shouldn’t be increased because of the pending litigation he is part of in relation to the animal control warden issue from several months ago.

She also said it’s a “substantial jump” when other employee wages have been increased 2.5 percent.

She said she understands there will be “additional duties”, talking about the new rules regarding cats in the county, but “Government is doing more with less [and the county} should keep consistent with that.”

County board chairman John Shure pointed out the salary hasn’t been increased in more than 10 years.

Roger Bard said anyone who questions the work done should visit the office “to see what it takes to run the office”.

“This increase wouldn’t be out of line.”

Duby asked if Youssef has a contract with the county.

Shure said it’s an appointed position, and though it’s been more than two years since the appointment, he retains the position until there’s someone else appointed to it.

States attorney Jim Devine said he would look into the rules relating to the reappointment.

Duby motioned to keep the salary at $12,000, but the motion was defeated 7-10. Those voting in favor of keeping the salary the same were Kevin Bohlmann, Kevin Coughenour, Donna Crow, Duby, Johnson, Chad McGinnis, and John Zumwalt. Those voting against, thus increasing the salary by $3,000, were Charles Alt, Bard, Lyle Behrends, Paul Bowers, Ernest Curtis, Steve Huse, Barb Offill, Shure, Jed Whitlow, and Joe Young. Those not at the meeting were Michael McTaggart, Marvin Stichnoth and Paul Ducat.

The board approved posting the FY20 budget, with Crow voting against it.

She said she has a problem “taking money from 9-1-1”. The board is asking the ETSB to pay $255,000 compared to the $120,000 the county and city of Watseka is paying for joint dispatch. It’s also not deciding to let ETSB use public safety tax money for state mandated NextGen 9-1-1 equipment until ETSB finds out if it gets grant monies. She said it creates problems for the future.

Shure said what the county is doing is “lawful”.

Crow said it may be lawful “but it’s still bad business”.

A job description for the new maintenance employee was approved at the meeting.

The description has that the person would work on an as needed basis, primarily in the winter months, for assistance in snow removal at the courthouse, jail and administrative center, but the employee would be used occasionally year round if needed for other various maintenance duties, in case of emergency, or in the absence of the maintenance supervisor.

The person would have basic knowledge of plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems will be necessary, as well as the ability to identify problems with these systems should they arise.

The employee will work under the direct supervision of the maintenance supervisor, at an hourly wage of $22 with no other county benefits. The amount of hours worked will be directly correlated to the amount and frequency of snow/ice events in the season. The expectations for hours annually for this individual is in the 100-200 hours a year range.

At the management services committee meeting, maintenance supervisor Chris Drake said he could use the person more, but he doesn’t need a full time employee.

Board member Kevin Bohlmann suggested the board put in the job description that the person be guaranteed at least two hours of work on a day which he/she would be called in to work, and the board agreed.

Shure said he’s talked with union officials and there’s no conflict in creating this position with union contracts. According to union representative Dave Hibben in an email sent to Shure, “The position sounds to be temporary at best and only as needed. If it is not taking away any AFSCME bargaining unit work I don’t see how it will be a problem. It would be up to AFSCME to petition the Labor Relations Board to include the position in the bargaining unit. But, it seems to be seasonal at best and not part time. Thus, the county board need not negotiate the rate of pay, but may unilaterally set the wages. I assume no benefits would attach. I don’t think there are any other steps to take beyond board action.”

Relatedly, the board approved the agreement with FOP labor unions for sergeants and lieutenants, deputies and corporals, and corrections officers.