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How much will county board members pay back? : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
How much will county board members pay back?
Committee to discuss per diem reimbursements on Tuesday

by Matt Schury


The Kendall County Ad Hoc Per Diem Committee is expected to vote on reimbursement issues at their meeting next Tuesday, Feb. 25.

However, it will probably be at least another month before the committee finds out exactly how much the county will be seeking in reimbursement from 11 current and former board members, board member Amy Cesich, said this week.

Once the committee decides which findings to seek reimbursement on, Weis will send out demand letters to those board members included in a forensic audit of per diems. Weis has said he will then tally the amount owed and present it to the committee.

Cesich, who sits as the per diem ad hoc committee chairman, said the next step would be for the committee to draft policy rules and procedures to fix the problem.

Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis has noted that 23 findings in the independent forensic audit of county board members' per diems.

Last month Weis explained the separate issues and findings for which he recommended the committee consider requesting reimbursement from the board members.

The board members included in the audit are current board members Elizabeth Flowers, John Purcell, John Shaw and Dan Koukol. Former board members in the audit are Bob Davidson, Pam Parr, Suzanne Petrella, Anne Vickery, Nancy Martin and Jeff Wehrli. Those 11 board members were also included in a criminal investigation by Weis' office as well as part of a Grand Jury investigation.

Weis strongly recommended the county seek reimbursement for issues of double billing of per diems, claiming a payment when no meeting existed, payment for second meeting on the same day, the chairman being paid for attending a committee meeting, which is not allowed under board rules of order. Other issues included a board member collecting a payment for attending a meeting they are not assigned to when a quorum is not needed, payments made without signature or vouchers and no record of the board member attending the meeting for which a per diem was submitted.

Issues that Weis recommended the committee consider for possible reimbursement included a member being appointed to an outside organization that doesn't keep attendance records, a member authorized by the County Board to attended a meeting of another local government, the county chairman authorizing board members to attend another meeting of local government on behalf of the board, board member taking a payment for attending something outside of a traditional meeting such as a meeting with another board member or county level staff member, a per diem voucher turned in for attending internal training, open houses or seminars, and board members getting a per diem for attending labor grievance hearings or union contract negotiation meetings.

Other issues the committee will look at include board members getting paid to attend outside meetings concerning projects that the county will not take direct action on, members attending meetings for outside organization where that member was not appointed as a representative of the board, interviewing applicants for employment, membership in outside organizations, attending training or conferences outside of the county, vouchers turned in with no specific meeting listed, a voucher turned in with no information stating the name of the meeting, purpose or reason for attendance.

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