Kankakee County Executive Committee votes to end health insurance subsidies for board members at the end of their term
Kankakee County Executive Committee met Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Here are the minutes as provided by Kankakee County:
Executive Committee Meeting
December 27, 2016
Mr. Wheeler, Mr. Liehr, Mr. Tripp, Mr. LaGesse, Mr. Hess, Mr. Skutt, Mr. Snipes, Mr. Sirois, Mr. Hildebrand, Ms. Webber, and Mr. Johnson
Mr. Olthoff, Mr. McConnell, and Mr. Byrne
Kevin Duval, John Bevis, Jake Lee, Erich Blair, Lori Gadbois, Sheriff Mike Downey, and Bruce Clark
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by the Chairman, Mr. Wheeler, at 9:00 a.m. Quorum present.
2. Public Comment
4. Approval of Minutes
Mr. Wheeler stated that Mr. Liehr will now be the County’s liaison with UCCI to gather information and report back to the Executive Committee on a regular basis.
Mr. Wheeler stated that there is a new state law that came into effect in July where he has to put together a report of all taxing bodies that the Board appoints to, including what they do, and when they were founded.
He stated it’s been an interesting week and a half trying to get that together, but it looks like he’ll meet the deadline of January 1 to submit it to the legislature.
6. Information Services
Mr. Duval stated that the County Board calendar will not just be available on the website anymore, but will be made available to all of the board members online, and will be able to be hooked into mobile devices.
Whether the board members have an iPhone, an Android, or a tablet, he will give them directions, or if they would rather, he or Jason Shane can set that up for them. As the Chairman or the fifth floor makes changes, the board members will get them. It’s operational now. For those with iPhones or iPads, they’re a little bit easier to do, but it can still be done on Androids.
Mr. Wheeler stated that the goal is to not just get it into the phone to save time, but if there are changes, it will automatically update. That will make it easy, and after this year, if you already have it hooked in, the new calendars will come right off of that calendar, so this only has to be done one time. If the Department Heads want to have access to the board calendars, they can as well.
7. Health Department
Mr. Bevis stated that this is his first official Executive Committee Meeting as Administrator. He has served as Bonnie Schaafsma’s replacement a number of times in the past, many times not to make an official report, but just to be present in case there were any questions. He does not have an official report for today regarding the Health Department and what they’re doing now, but he did want to introduce himself to some of those who might not know who he is. In June of 2017, he will have been an employee of Kankakee County for 30 years. He had a lot of experience from the environmental side of the Health Department, and now he is learning a lot of the nursing background where Bonnie Schaafsma’s strength was. Everyone at the Health Department has great experience and knowledge, and will be very helpful with him in that respect.
Mr. Wheeler stated that they did execute the purchase agreement with the Public Buildings Commission for the schools. They will be paying for the co-op, so that agreement is in place and they will be moving forward with that. The County is not paying for, but will end up owning the building in 2020. The County will take possession after it is paid off by the regional office.
Mr. Wheeler also stated that there was one slight change on the intergovernmental agreement. We were asked to provide an umbrella for the liability of that building. He contacted our insurance broker, and that umbrella will be extended at no cost.
9. Veterans Assistance Commission
A motion to approve the monthly reports was made by Mr. Sirois, and Mr. Skutt seconded it.
Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Roof was not present.
10. Personnel/HR Issues
11. Administrative Issues
Resignation of Vennis Voges from the Bloom’s Grove Cemetery Association
Resignation of Gary Pommier from the Baker Creek Drainage District
Resignation of Charles (Bud) Yohnka from the Baker Creek Drainage District
Reappointment of Dennis J. O’Connor to the Gar Creek Drainage District
Reappointment of John P. Gricius to the Grinnell Special Drainage District
Reappointment of Elwood Line to the Momence-Yellowhead Drainage District
Appointment of Jude Pommier to the Baker Creek Drainage District
Appointment of Steve Einfeldt to Economic Alliance of Kankakee County
Appointment of Sam Payton to Economic Alliance of Kankakee County
Appointment of R. Shane Ritter to Economic Alliance of Kankakee County
A motion to combine and approve was made by Mr. Skutt, and Mr. Johnson seconded it. Motion
carried with a voice vote.
One Opening on the Emergency Telephone System Board (911) currently held by Scott O’Brien
One opening on the Will-Kankakee Regional Development Authority currently held by Debra Lucas
Three openings on the Bloom’s Grove Cemetery Association currently held by Gerald Benge, Margaret Klipp, and Vennis Voges
One opening on the Kankakee County Housing Authority currently held by Patrick Lovell
Two openings on the Baker Creek Drainage District currently held by Gary Pommier and Charles (Bud) Yohnka
One opening on the Geographic Information System (GIS) Committee (County Board Member)
Mr. Wheeler announced the above openings.
12. Other Business
End Board Member Health Insurance Subsidy
Mr. Wheeler stated there have been previous discussions on Board Member health insurance. Board Members used to get health insurance, and then on December 1, 2010, we grandfathered in those Board Members who currently had the subsidy from the County for their health insurance, and no new Board Members could receive health insurance. So, now, six years later, we’re bringing it back to the Executive Committee because there are a lot of comments from the public that they can’t quite see how Board Members can have access to health insurance, but have it subsidized by the taxpayers. I think the intent of going the grandfather was to allow a transition for board members. The question today is if it’s time to end the grandfather and, when he says “time”, he means at the next election, because you can’t change board member compensation until the next election. The move we would be taking now would be for those up in two years, and then those who were just re-elected, up in four years.
Mr. Tripp asked if there were any figures on how many were in then. He knows that they’ve made some transitions from paying full benefits to just paying the supplements on a few.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he believes there were two who were on the fully insured plan, and three left who were on supplements.
Mr. Liehr stated that it’s been pointed out that this is a fairly limited number of board members, and those in the public that are commenting don’t have that information. Also, he wonders, as this is something we’re trying to do to respond to the public, if it’s a better response to take place closer to an election time.
Mr. Skutt stated that, in his mind, it’s a very rich benefit for a few meetings a month. He believes that it’s something we should move forward to end now, fully realizing that it can’t take effect until a new term begins in two or four years, and also understanding that those individuals can still continue on the plan, paying their 100% portion so that the burden no longer falls on the taxpayers and on our County budget.
A motion to approve ending the health insurance subsidy for County Board members effective with the end of their term was made by Mr. Skutt, and Mr. Johnson seconded it. Motion carried with a roll call vote of 11 ayes and 0 nays. Voting aye were Mr. Tripp, Mr. LaGesse, Mr. Hess, Mr.
Skutt, Mr. Snipes, Mr. Sirois, Mr. Hildebrand, Ms. Webber, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Liehr, and Mr. Wheeler.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he and Jake Lee sat down with one of the Assistant State’s Attorneys and they worked through some of the travel policy. The travel policy exists because the State of Illinois has new rules on travel, so they wanted to make sure that they were in compliance with those rules.
Graeme Quinn from the State’s Attorney’s office stated that the State of Illinois requires that counties adopt by ordinance or resolution an actual stated policy on travel reimbursement. He reviewed and discussed with the committee new additions to the previous travel policy.
A motion was made by Mr. LaGesse to adopt the travel policy, and Mr. Johnson seconded it.
Motion carried with a voice vote.
Advisory Question on Municipal Election Ballot
Mr. Wheeler stated that the question has been asked by many people who read the editorial in the newspaper about why we have 28 board members. The costs are minimal for 28, and you get more diverse representation of the county with 28, but this was an opportunity to sit and discuss the matter. Do we want to put an advisory question on the ballot, or two, with two different numbers, asking the public what they think their County Board number should be? He would have to verify it, but he believes it was the public in Grundy County who ran a referendum to reduce the size of the County Board, to happen immediately, and the Illinois Supreme Court threw it out because the only time you can do that is the second year after a census year. We could run a referendum to reduce the size of this board, but we couldn’t do it until 2022. That’s why is would be an advisory question.
Mr. Wheeler further discussed this matter with the committee.
Mr. Wheeler stated that, after their discussion, he believes the consensus of the committee is that they would rather spend more time making sure the public understood the nature of the County Board than putting a referendum on the ballot. He will reach out to the media, newspapers and radio stations who are always at the meetings, to make sure that we are consistent with that message.
14. Old Business/New Business
A motion to adjourn at 9:57 a.m. was made by Mr. LaGesse, and seconded by Mr. Hess.
Andrew H. Wheeler, Chairman
Diane Owens, Executive Coordinator