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Kendall board member claims colleague took undeserved payments

Updated: May 14, 2012 8:20AM

YORKVILLE — The Kendall County Board Finance Committee chairman Thursday questioned another board member’s pay for meeting attendance.

Finance Chairman Anne Vickery said she counted 49 meetings that board member Dan Koukol received pay for, but should not have. She said Koukol was paid $85 a meeting for attending County Board meetings of committees he is not on, or outside meetings that were not eligible for meeting pay, known as a per diem.

“We need some direction here, because we have over $4,000 involved,” she told the Finance Committee.

She went on to say she would discuss with the county’s private auditor how to “find a way to get the money back to the county.”

Koukol, who is not a member of the Finance Committee, addressed the committee Thursday. He said that many of the meetings he attended were related to his chairmanship of the county’s Economic Development Committee.

He said at different times, he has been asked by economic development officials in townships and cities in the county to attend their meetings. He said he did so as part of his effort to reactivate economic development at the county level.

He presented a letter to committee members from the village of Oswego thanking him for attending an eight-hour economic development planning session on a Saturday.

“I’m sure I put down a per diem for that,” he said. “I’ve probably attended 80 to 85 meetings, from Montgomery to Sandwich … to Minooka. For very few of the meetings have I taken a per diem.”

He said he asked permission from board Chairman John Purcell to attend some of the meetings and take a per diem for them.

Koukol accused Vickery of engaging in politics by criticizing him for the per diems. He pointed out that Vickery originally made her comments at the first meeting after the March primary election, in which she lost her bid for the Republican nomination in District 2.

“I do believe in this building all politics should stop at the door,” he said.

Vickery said the per diems Koukol claimed were brought to her attention several months before the election, and she purposely “sat on them” until after the election so it would not be construed as political.

She also said the board’s rules of order specify what a board member can and cannot collect for, and that the board chairman cannot overturn that himself.

“I’m not quite sure where the idea came that the County Board chairman can bless going to a meeting,” Vickery said.

Thursday’s discussion got testy. Several times, Vickery gaveled Koukol down and called him out of order when he was making comments because Koukol is not a member of the Finance Committee.

Members of the Finance Committee said they would keep a closer watch on all vouchers coming through the committee from now on.

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