Kendall committee to act quickly to correct compensation problems
By Steve Lord email@example.com February 19, 2014 10:57AM
Updated: March 21, 2014 3:33PM
YORKVILLE — A Kendall County Board committee wants to act quickly to correct whatever is wrong with how board members are compensated.
Members of the Ad Hoc Per Diem Committee, charged with looking at the county’s policy on per diems and mileage for board members, said this week they want to have a recommendation on new policies by March 13.
That’s when the County Board’s Committee of the Whole meets, and board members are hoping to discuss the new policy there. That means the board could pass a new policy before the end of March.
“It’s important to fix the clearly broken system sooner rather than later,” said County Board member Lynn Cullick, a Per Diem Committee member.
Per Diem Committee Chairman Amy Cesich agreed. She said fixing the system “is obviously what the committee was designed to do.”
“We need to move forward so to not have this happen again,” she said.
What she was referring to were numerous mistaken and questionable per diems taken by board members during about a 3 1/2-year period ending in about the middle of 2012. That was the time period investigated for more than a year by a forensic auditor and a Kendall County grand jury.
Three weeks ago, State’s Attorney Eric Weis gave the first information from that investigation to the Per Diem Committee. In addition to recommending a new policy for per diems and mileage, the committee also will decide on whether or not money should be paid back by board members for any of the situations covered by the investigation.
Per diems are payments given to County Board members for each meeting they attend. The investigation included five former board members — Anne Vickery, Nancy Martin, Jesse Hafenrichter, Bob Davidson and Suzanne Petrella — and five current members, John Purcell, John Shaw, Dan Koukol, Elizabeth Flowers and Jeff Wehrli.
Weis outlined a number of areas the Ad Hoc Per Diem Committee has to decide on before the state’s attorney can even decide how many board members owe how much money.
He divided the situations into two basic categories, which he labeled “red” and “yellow.” The red situations were what he considered more cut and dried — obvious cases where the per diems should have not been taken, or were unproven. The yellow cases were more open to interpretation, and could have been proper, or might not have been.
At its next meeting, the Per Diem Committee will look at those and make some decisions about them. They also will look at a new per diem and mileage policy.