Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met August 21
Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met August 21.
Here is the minutes as provided by the board:
The meeting of the County Commissioners of Monroe County, Illinois was called to order at 8:00
a.m. Chairman Robert Elmore, Commissioner Delbert Wittenauer and Commissioner Vicki
Koerber were present.
The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Others present included County Clerk Dennis Knobloch, Sheila Wetzler, along with Press Corps
representatives – Joe Leicht of the Monroe County Independent and Alan Dooley of the Republic
Times. Ron Schultheis was also in attendance.
There being a quorum present, the meeting was called to order by Chairman Elmore.
There were no public comments.
Kevin Koenigstein and Annmarie Marcuson came to the meeting to discuss the proposed vacation
buy-back program. This action had been approved by the County Board at the previous meeting.
There was review of the Resolution that detailed the vacation buy-back program. Motion was
made by Commissioner Wittenauer, with a second by Commissioner Koerber to approve the
Resolution as presented. Discussion followed. Commissioner Wittenauer asked – we are
allocating $80,000 per year, so what happens if we only spend $60,000 on the program?
Chairman Elmore said we’re trying to get this off the books, so even if we have $90,000 applied
for this year, we’ll honor those requests. Mr. Koenigstein said you have to remember this is a
voluntary program, and we may not get $80,000 in requests, so no matter how much is requested,
we should probably offer the $80,000 again next year. Ms. Marcuson asked how we should
handle those who end up with extra vacation when their anniversary date rolls around – will those
employees then have to be paid out on their vacation overage? Chairman Elmore said yes, we
need to keep everyone at the limited vacation amount.
Ms. Marcuson asked are you going to do 5% bonus every time somebody buys back hours, or
how should we handle that. Commissioner Wittenauer said no, the bonus should only be once a
year, and that can even be reviewed next year before the annual offering. Chairman Elmore said
that will only be done when the offer is again extended next year. Ms. Marcuson asked when that
will take place. Chairman Elmore said he thought it should be August again. Ms. Marcuson
asked if the employees can hold over their newly-accrued hours to take advantage of the 5%
bonus? Commissioner Wittenauer said on the new hours you can’t do that, this is only for the
hours currently on the books. Commissioner Koerber said the way she reads this, this is a onetime
shot. Ms. Marcuson said she didn’t think the maximum dollar amount of $80,000 will be
reached, because there are not enough people interested in taking the buy-back. Commissioner
Koerber asked if the Resolution needed to say this is a one-time offer. Commissioner Wittenauer
said this is a three-time offer. Mr. Knobloch said he felt that was more of a procedural issue, and
didn’t need to be specifically spelled out in the Resolution, but he said he thought there needed to
be a historical list produced right now saying this is the amount of excess vacation hours you
have that are eligible for the annual buy-back program, and those hours will be capped at that
amount for the annual program. Chairman Elmore said that’s a good idea. Mr. Knobloch said
that would prohibit people from coming back next year asking for more excess vacation buy-back
than they originally had in the program, and that list should already be available from the
information distributed to the Commissioners. Ms. Marcuson said she didn’t know if any of the
employees had taken any of their vacation time. Commissioner Koerber said those numbers
shouldn’t change – the amount of excess vacation time should be the same as had been reported
to the Board, so if there is any question, after the Resolution is passed today, there should be a list
compiled of the excess vacation time, and that list will not be changed. Ms. Marcuson said she
would do that.
Ms. Marcuson said the Nationwide rep will be here on Thursday, and the Sheriff’s Dept.
employees may decide to move more into the 457 program. Chairman Elmore said what happens
if more of those employees sign up on Thursday, and we’re over on the amount of money
allocated for this use? Commissioner Wittenauer said today is the 21st, and that should be the
deadline. Commissioner Koerber said if the Board approves this Resolution today, that should be
the deadline. Ms. Marcuson said this is the first time the Nationwide rep has been here to talk to
the employees since March. Commissioner Koerber asked – do we think after Thursday there
may be more people wanting to participate, because she felt the Resolution said today is the date.
Chairman Elmore said if somebody comes to that meeting and they say they want to participate at
a higher level, what do we do then? Commissioner Wittenauer said they have to wait until next
year. Commissioner Koerber said that will not be included in the annual buy-back, and their
annual hours will be governed by the new handbook – the annual program will only include the
vacation hours that are determined now when we start the program. Commissioner Wittenauer
said we need to be really clear that the annual buy-back program is only on those excess hours
that are on the books today when we pass the Resolution. Commissioner Koerber said the new
handbook has all of this language, so we should be okay on this.
Chairman Elmore said we’re kind of contradicting ourselves here though, because we’re saying
we’re gonna pay out $240,000. Commissioner Wittenauer said but, we’re not, we’re only going
to pay out the amount that is requested by the employees since we can’t make them participate in
this program. Mr. Knobloch said he didn’t feel there was any problem with the way the
information was presented, as long as we produce a list now of the amount of excess hours on the
books, and any buy-back will be limited to any more than that amount of hours – if the
Commissioners weren’t happy with the Resolution, it should be taken up at a future meeting.
Commissioner Wittenauer said that is what we talked about – we make $240,000 available, and
the employees have three chances to participate on an annual basis. Ms. Marcuson said she
would compile the list of hours on the books by the end of this week, and provide that to the
County Board. Chairman Elmore said so today is the day – whatever happens on Thursday at the
Sheriff’s Dept. is too late for the program this year. Commissioner Koerber said she still had
some questions about the Thursday meeting with the Sheriff’s Dept. – they can commit to the
program on Thursday, but if they haven’t made a decision by today, they have lost the
opportunity for the 5% bonus. Chairman Elmore said yes, that should be the way it works.
Commissioner Wittenauer asked are we going to do the 5% next year? Ms. Marcuson said the
5% is only for this year, we may offer it again next year or maybe not, because we have to see
what the budget condition is, and the memo that was sent to the employees said the 5% bonus
would only be for this year. Commissioner Koerber said we do say in the Resolution that there
will be a 5% incentive payment on the amount paid out – do we need to put in the Resolution –
from the initial request, do we need to clarify so nobody can come back? Mr. Knobloch said if
there is that much concern about the Resolution, push it to the side and start over.
Chairman Elmore said can we just strike the $240,000 from the Resolution, and say we’ll pay
$80,000 this year? Commissioner Wittenauer said it really doesn’t say what you’re doing with
the $240,000. So you’ve got a lot of flexibility. Commissioner Koerber said her reason for
asking was because of previous history. Commissioner Elmore called for the vote. Chairman
Elmore and Commissioner Wittenauer voting Aye, none Nay, Commissioner Koerber Abstained.
WHEREAS, through the years Monroe County has taken on a considerable amount of
liability for employee unused vacation/holiday time, and
WHEREAS, steps have been taken by enacting rules that will prevent this liability from
increasing beyond control, and
WHEREAS, the members of the (County Board) feel that it is important to attempt to
delete as much of this unused vacation/holiday time liability as possible, and
WHEREAS, the members of the (County Board) have designated $240,000 in the annual
budget to be used over a 3-year period, utilizing $80,000 each year, beginning in 2017, and
WHEREAS, the employees of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department will have the
opportunity to roll their requested unused vacation/holiday benefits into a 457 plan,
NOW, BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the (County Board) through the Monroe
County Treasurer’s office, will contact those employees who have unused vacation/holiday time
liability, and offer them the opportunity to receive a payout of these funds, plus a 5% incentive
payment on the amount paid out, and a written request form will have to be completed and
submitted to the employee’s immediate Department Head, and the amount of unused
vacation/holiday time will be paid at the employee’s current hourly rate of pay, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all attempts will be made to complete these
vacation/holiday buy back transactions in a timely fashion, with payments of those funds being
made to participating employees as part of the August 31, 2017 payroll distribution.
Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Monroe County, Illinois at Waterloo, this 21st
day of August, 2017.
Motion: Wittenauer Second: Koerber
Aye: Two Nay: None
Absent: None Abstain: Koerber