Rock Island County Governance, Health, and Administration Committee met July 10.
Rock Island County Governance, Health, and Administration Committee met July 10.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
The Governance, Health, and Administration Committee of the Rock Island County Board met at the above date and time in the Conference Room of the Administration Office on the second floor of the County Building, 1504 Third Ave, Rock Island, IL. Chair Mia Mayberry called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. Minutes as follows:
1) Call to order and roll call
Committee members present: Mia Mayberry, Pat Moreno, Kim Callaway-Thompson (via phone), Mike Steffen, Ron Oelke (arrived at 10:01 a.m.), Drue Mielke, Scott Terry (arrived at 10:03 a.m.), Cecilia O’Brien (via phone)
Committee members absent: None
Others present: Kenneth Maranda, Hayleigh Covella, Dave, Ross, Edna Sowards, Kurt Davis, Nita Ludwig, Ed Langdon, Amanda Van Daele, Kirsten Bogdonas, Darren Hart, Karen Kinney, Virgil Mayberry, Sylvia Gomez, Chris Payne, Louisa Ewert
2) Public comments
There were no public comments.
3) Approval of minutes from the June 12, 2017 meeting
Motion to approve: Pat Moreno
2nd: Mike Steffen
4) Reports to the committee
University of Illinois Extension-
Ms. Bogdonas, the Health and Wellness Educator at the University of Illinois Extension, introduced herself.
Mr. Oelke is present.
Ms. Bogdonas explained that her first handout is from the Horticulture Educator. It has information on the gardening program. This is a publication they put out.
Ms. Bogdonas handed out the Extension’s summer newsletter, which has lots of programming information and projects they have been working on. On the back side of it is a calendar of events that are coming up. One event is the Hennepin Hoopla, which is a new even this year. Ms. Bogdonas is really excited about it. The page on the back is a map of the lots they are having events at. This is from the Economic Development Educator. The idea came for the event from a community survey project conducted by U of I students in 2015. Friends of Big Island were concerned that few local residents knew about the natural resources in the Big Island and Milan areas. The survey result indicated that this was indeed the case. As a result, the group decided some type of programming was necessary to encourage visitors and the Hennepin Hoopla was born. It is the first activity of its kind at the Big Island section of the Hennepin Canal. It is going to be a great day. Ms. Bogdonas invited anyone who is available to please come down.
Mr. Mielke noted that he did put this in the Coal Valley newsletter. He asked if it’s something they can put in the county newsletter too. Ms. Mayberry noted she was just going to say that. Mr. Mielke said he thinks it’s something they’re having a hard time getting the word out. Ms. Mayberry said she has no problem with that. There’s room in the newsletter for things like this.
Mr. Terry is present.
Ms. Kinney passed out her vital report for June. She noted that it appears that everything is quite profitable regarding vitals. It has been a good month. Births are up; marriages are up. She hopes they stay on this trend. That would be very nice for everyone. She and Mr. Camlin have a couple of plans in place. They are hoping to drum up some marriages. They are going to convert their selfie station into a marriage selfie station so people that apply for a license can come in and take a selfie. That seems to be the trend today. She did a little shopping last weekend and is really excited to get started on that project, but they currently have bigger fish to fry. That’s more of a fun thing and that’s on the back burner until her office takes care of some more serious business that has more to do with elections.
Ms. Kinney noted that in the middle of June, she received a letter from Senators Durbin and Hastings. She noted that the committee may have seen part of this on the news over the weekend. The letters were questioning her office on its security. All County Clerks across Illinois got it. There were six different questions, which she answered. Her office was under no real threat because they are not on the internet on Election Day. No one can hack into them so to speak, but there are other things that they needed to improve on. They are now taking steps to do so. Her office is going to put some locks and chains on some cabinets in the backroom. That may appear strange, but considering all things, they’ve had a couple things happen that they are concerned about. They will put that on lockdown and put cameras up at the counter, in the backroom, and in the location where they keep the machinery near Ms. Ewert’s office.
Ms. Kinney noted that she has also made some changes already. They put up some signage as the Sheriff’s Department suggested. Her office had a lockbox that they relocated because they were concerned someone could go in and clean their keys out by a simple trip to the restroom. Ms. Kinney said it was in there because it always has been in there, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. She is just reevaluating all the past practices and coming up with some new practices. She thought she might answer some questions for the committee because they probably saw the story on the news. She wants to keep the committee in the loop as far as what’s going on in the Clerk’s office.
Ms. Mayberry asked Ms. Kinney if the items she discussed are already in her budget, like the cameras and the locks. Ms. Kinney said yes. They’ve discussed five cameras. She thinks Mr. Davis is going to assist them with that. She noted that maybe they should’ve done it long time ago. She does think there is a need for it. They put in for a panic button a few years ago and that kind of got put on the back burner because of finances. She understands that, but she thinks a camera will help.
5) Update re: status of county courthouse public hearing and options
Mr. Ross noted that he sent out to everybody via email this morning an updated list of all the comments he has received so far. The County Board members should all have that. The plan for the County Board meeting is to hold a public hearing for input on what people think they should do with the county courthouse once construction is done on the new annex. Mr. Ross’s suggestion or advice is to accept that input, obviously, but don’t take any action or consider anything in July. Let it absorb for a month. They have time. Mr. Ross’s plan is to come back to this committee and the County Board either in August or September after discussing some things with the Budget Committee as well. They will run through the options he puts forth at that time. He has a couple of options, of course. They are kind of predicated on what the use is going to be and if they want to keep the building. Without speaking for the Sheriff, in speaking with him he is a proponent, if they keep it, of having it for the county’s own use, not for private enterprise over there. That’s for security concerns he’s mentioned. A lot of options will be predicated on whether or not they even want to consider it for private use or for some kind of public-private partnership. Once they hear comments and Mr. Ross talks to the Budget Committee in either August or September, he would like to come back to this committee and give options and see what’s viable. They have time. His advice is to just listen to everybody and absorb it.
Ms. Mayberry asked if the public hearing will be starting at 5:30. Mr. Ross said yes. It’s right at the start of the meeting.
Mr. Steffen noted that there was a nice article in the paper this week encouraging comments with an email address. Mr. Ross said staff sent that out to the press. Mr. Steffen said they might get stuff ahead of time. Mr. Ross said he has sent out everything he’s gotten so far, but if he gets more he’ll send it out.
Mr. Moreno asked if Mr. Ross has gotten final numbers for the new building. Mr. Ross said he doesn’t know. If they have numbers, the PBC hasn’t shared them with him. He doesn’t know if the County Board Chairman has it. Ms. Mayberry asked if Mr. Ross thinks it’s still on budget. Mr. Ross said they were opening bids in June, the second set. He’s not sure where those came in. They haven’t updated him yet. Mr. Moreno said he was just wondering if they are still going to have the extra $500,000. Ms. Mayberry asked if the PBC will be present at the meeting. Mr. Ross said they’re invited.
Ms. Kinney asked if she can add something to her report before everybody’s mind takes off. She explained that the selfie station all comes out of her pocket. She doesn’t want anybody going out there saying they’ve got money to blow and are spending it on balloons and toys and whatever. That comes out of her pocket. In case anybody thinks otherwise, she asked the committee to please set them straight. Ms. Mayberry thanked her for the clarification.
6) Update on Hope Creek and AFSCME 2371 Memorandum of Understanding
Ms. Mayberry noted that this update is regarding the RNs and LPNs.
Mr. Ross explained that this is just an update. He and the County Board Chairman have been working on this with the leadership out at Hope Creek for a while. They are having a difficult time filling nursing positions. There has been a nursing shortage in the area for some time. It’s regional and Mr. Ross thinks it’s national. It’s challenging. The salary Hope Creek pays RNs and LPNs is not anywhere close to the area average. That’s been part of the problem. Part of the negotiations when they did the original Collective Bargaining Agreement was they discussed it and decided on not changing anything at that time with the option of changing it later. They are considering that now. Hope Creek is spending more money than he would like to see on staffing agency and overtime costs. Unlike other areas of county, the Sheriff’s office and jail excluded, when someone takes off vacation or holiday, you have to backfill that position. It costs money when they have to do that. Mr. Ross is looking to have an MOU where new LPNs and RNs, and he offered it to them originally with existing but they were not able to come to an agreement with existing staff, newly hired will have a higher starting salary. It will be $25/hour for RNs and $19.57/hour for LPNs. That’s about 16% higher than it is now. It’s close to the area average. It still might not quite be where they need to be but he hopes its close. Hope Creek offers other benefits that are very good. The MOU would also entail cutting back benefits. That also means reduction in vacation, which costs the county money when they offer it. Mr. Ross has already worked on the numbers and has met extensively with Hope Creek staff.
Mr. Oelke asked if Mr. Ross is trying to get that to be a wash with the salary increase versus the benefits. Mr. Ross said it will never be a wash, but he’s trying to improve it. Benefits are challenging financially. He’s trying to improve the situation a little bit.
Mr. Steffen noted that his thoughts go toward morale problems with the difference in pay and benefits between existing RNs and LPNs and new ones coming in at a higher rate. Mr. Ross explained that they discussed that at length and they turned it down. Mr. Steffen asked if the existing turned it down. Mr. Ross said yes. That’s their choice. Mr. Steffen asked if they like the benefits more than the pay. Mr. Ross said he would make a similar assumption.
Ms. Mayberry asked for an approximation of the savings. Mr. Oelke asked if it will be a savings or net increase. Mr. Ross said it’s a net increase, but it’s nowhere near what it would have been had they done all employees. It just depends on how many they are able to hire under the new rate. The savings they will see will come from reduced vacation benefits and by having their own staff fill shifts rather than continually going to agency. That’s his hope is that agency continues to go down. Right now agency costs vary between $40,000 and $100,000 a month. They are aggressively working on fixing that. This is one part of that equation.
7) Consider Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation
Ms. Mayberry explained that this proclamation was brought to the committee by Mr. Mielke, so she’ll let him speak on it.
Mr. Mielke explained that he was asked to write and submit to the county a proclamation for National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is September 15 through October 15. Really what he did was he borrowed from past proclamations he has seen. He did localize it. He kind of mentioned the Floreciente Neighborhood and Hero Street to make it Rock Island County’s. He’s just asking to have this proclamation in effect since the meeting is on the 19th in September. The Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber asked him to write this. It was their Legislative Committee. They are also asking all the mayors in the area to adopt a proclamation or at least recognize it on both sides of river as far as he knows. He wanted to submit this to committee for review and approval to full board.
Motion to approve: Mike Steffen
2nd: Pat Moreno
8) Review of pending/proposed state legislation & policy matters affecting Rock Island County
There was no discussion for Item 8.
9) Committee member opportunity for brief comments (no decisions will be made)
There were no additional comments.
Meeting adjourned at 10:18 a.m.