By Alex Haglund
The Washington County Board accepted the resignation of Washington County Treasurer Kelly Cameron at their regular meeting held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13, at the Washington County Courthouse.
Accepting a resignation from Cameron was on the board’s official meeting agenda. Cameron’s husband, Robert Cameron, and Brian Rich, a lawyer for the Camerons, were both present at the meeting. The board entered a brief closed session to discuss the resignation, then returned to open session to do so.
Cameron’s letter of resignation was read aloud, with Cameron stating that working for the people of Washington County was a “wonderful privilege”, but due to her health difficulties limiting her ability to carry out the job of treasurer, she stated “with a very heavy heart and out of respect for this community and the office I hold, I hereby announce that I am resigning from my position as Washington County Treasurer.”
Cameron had been absent from her office due to an extended illness. In a letter to The Nashville News on page A7 of today’s edition (A letter received following the December 13 meeting of the County Board), the Camerons discuss the circumstances of her diagnosis– early-onset dementia – and the effects of that diagnosis on Cameron’s ability to accomplish the duties of her office.
Following Cameron’s letter being read and the acceptance of the resignation by the board, Rich thanked the County Board, States Attorney Dan Bronke and former States Attorney Heath Hooks for “the consideration and patience that you have shown during this trying time for the Camerons.”
“We would wish the Camerons well,” said County Board Chairman David Meyer, “This is very unfortunate, but as we all know, we have to move on with business here in Washington County.”
County Clerk Nancy Heseman then read aloud a statement prepared by Meyer stating that a vacancy was declared in the office, that the central committees of both political parties would be notified within three days of the meeting, and that a member of the Republican Party (Cameron’s party as of her election) would be filling the vacancy within 60 days, all in accordance with Illinois Election Code.
Personnel And Appointments
There are no changes to the county board’s committee organization which was announced at the special meeting held on Thursday, December 1.
Margaret Steinkamp and Doris Povolish were reappointed to two year terms on the Southwestern Illinois Planning Commission.
Butch Gogolek, Henry “Hank” Borrenpohl, Mike Cwaszinski and Patricia Rensing were all reappointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Doug Boeklen has been appointed to that board to fill the unexpired term of David Aubel through November 1, 2017.
The Board passed a resolution changing jury pay. Recently, the Illinois State Legislature passed a motion which mandated an increase to jury pay. Counties have now individually rescinded that resolution, which is what Washington County was doing.
“It’s a small county said Chairman Meyer, “And that would really boost things up in cost.”
Newly-elected States Attorney Dan Bronke gave his first regular report to the board, stating that since he took office, “there’s a lot going on.”
Bronke stated that the office had seen four felony and five misdemeanor cases closed since he took office, including Steve Kuklinski, charged with burglaries in the Oakdale area, who was sentenced to 15 years in the department of corrections, and Steve Herling, charged with the theft of a motorcycle from Holzhauer’s, getting six years.
Bronke also made a request to the board to pay for an appellate prosecutor. This lawyer would handle appeals and escalating cases for the county. It’s service Bronke says that has some upfront costs, but ultimately, saves the county time and money from not having to deal with every appeal themselves. The board approved the request.
Sheriff Danny Bradac presented his report to the board, after which he stated that there were 16 county inmates and one federal inmate in the Washington County Jail.
Bradac stated that there were not currently a lot of federal inmates because there is currently no permanent US Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois after the previous person in the post went into private practice.
When you have someone filling in in that role, Bradac told the board, “things screech to a halt.”
Bradac stated that with a new President being sworn in during January, a full time replacement for the post will be appointed and then things will quickly pick up again.
Highway Department chief and County Engineer Mitch Burdick came before the board with two resolutions he needed approval for.
The first, “ allows us to appropriate funds from the motor fuel tax (MFT) funds to pay for a portion of my salary,” Burdick said.
The second appropriates Maintenance Funds for MFT, and this appropriation “indicates what we would expect would be the maximum of what we would receive from MFT funds,” Burdick said.
The total appropriation will be $723,250, “which is about $90,000 less than last year,” Burdick stated.
In other roads news, Burdick stated that there was a significant change to the condition of the bridge on County Highway 18 (Noltings Road) following the department’s bridge inspections this year. The bridge now has a temporary weight restriction of 20 tons.
Burdick stated that he is currently waiting for a response from the IDOT bridge office to get an approval for proposed repairs. Once the repairs are complete, the weight restriction will be lifted.
Burdick also stated that all of the mowing that his department had planned for the year is now complete and with weather cooling down, “we took delivery of salt and cinders,” Burdick said, “and we’re fully stocked up.” Additionally, all of the department’s equipment has been inspected and serviced and is ready for winter.
The County approved their meeting schedule for 2017, agreeing to meet on the second Teusday of each month, with meetings at 7 p.m., except for December, when the meeting will be at 3 p.m.
The county reentered their agreement with Southwestern Illinois Municipal
The Board heard reports from County Supervisor of Assessments Sharon Harre Mewes, and from Washington County Health Department Administrator Sharon Frederking. Look for more details of their reports in the December 28 edition of The Nashville News.
Washington County Hospital President and CEO Nancy Newby spoke with the Board as well, giving them information about and copies of the 2016 County Health Needs Assessment and the Wellness Resource Guide. For more information about both the Assessment and the Resource Guide, please see the article on page A1 of the December 14 edition of The Nashville News.