County commissioners meet twice
Two meetings were on the calendar last week for the Union County Board of Commissioners.
Regular meetings were held on Monday morning, Dec. 5, and again on Friday morning, Dec. 9.
Both sessions were held at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
Dec. 9 Meeting
Last Friday morning's meeting was the last regular session attended by county administrator Kelly Carter.
Carter is leaving the post to become the executive director of the Union County Housing Authority on Dec. 15.
Carter is being succeeded as county administrator by Angela Coke. She has been working in the Union County treasurer's office.
County board of commissioners chairman Bobby Toler Jr. thanked Carter for the work he has done as administrator.
"It's been a great experience," Carter said.
"You have helped the county tremendously," board of commissioners vice chairman Max Miller added.
Commissioner Dale Russell noted that the work Carter has done has saved the county a lot of money.
In other business at Friday's meeting, a letter was shared which voiced appreciation for the professionalism, empathy and response to a recent call involving a team from the Union County Ambulance Service.
Dec. 5 Meeting
Reorganization of the board following the November election was on the agenda at the Dec. 5 meeting.
Dale Foster, who was elected in November, attended his first meeting as a county commissioner.
Incumbent county commissioner Dale Russell was reelected in November.
The commissioners elected Bobby Toler Jr. as chairman. Max Miller was elected vice chairman.
Toler said he looked forward to working to make Union County a better place for all.
The new board chairman also congratulated Foster for his election and Russell for his reelection.
During a subsequent public comment period near the end of the meeting, Toler was asked by a community member about what specific plans he might have for improving the county.
Improving the County
Toler said the matter would be a focus of discussion in the future. "It's ongoing. We continue to work toward that goal all of the time."
Commissioner Danny Hartline said that an ongoing effort is underway to work on improving the county.
Hartline noted the recent establishment of a tourism board which was appointed by the county board.
Members of the board review applications for county hotel/motel tax funds, often referred to as the tourism fund.
The board then makes recommendations to the county commissioners regarding allocation of the tourism funds.
The goal of allocating the funds is to help support activities and events which will help to bring visitors to Union County, which, in turn, helps to promote economic growth and development.
Hartline added that economic development efforts also were an ongoing matter of concern for county officials.
Commissioner Dale Russell noted that the county has a revolving loan fund which is available to help local businesses grow and expand. The fund has been utilized to help several businesses.
State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor
In other business at the Dec. 5 meeting, the county commissioners approved a resolution which supports continued operation of the state's attorneys appellate prosecutor and allocation of $7,000 for Fiscal Year 2017, which began on Dec. 1.
The office of the state's attorneys appellate prosecutor was created to provide services to state's attorneys in Illinois counties which have fewer than 3 million residents.
The resolution approved by the commissioners explained that the Illinois General Assembly appropriates funding for the expenses of the state's attorneys appellate prosecutor: one-third from the state's attorneys appellate prosecutors county fund and two-thirds from the general revenue fund, provided that such funding receives approval and support from the counties which are eligible to apply.
Attorneys employed by the office of the state's attorneys appellate prosecutor are authorized to act as assistant state's attorneys on behalf of the state's attorneys from participating counties in the appeal of all cases, when requested to do so.
The attorneys, with the advice and consent of state's attorneys, prepare, file and argue appellate briefs in cases which are appealed.
The attorneys also may assist a state's attorney to assist in the prosecution of cases under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, the Cannabis Control Act, the Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act and the Narcotics Profit Forfeiture Act. The attorneys also can assist a state's attorney in his or her duties under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, including negotiations.
The state's attorneys appellate prosecutor's office also provides continuing legal education training programs and assistance in the prosecution of cases.
Union County State's Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds voiced his appreciation to the commissioners for their support of the program.
Union County has supported the program for a number of years. Edmonds is a member of the program's governing board of directors.
Ordinance Banning Nepotism
The state's attorney on Dec. 5 also presented the commissioners with the draft of an ordinance which would ban nepotism in county hiring. Establishment of such a policy has been recommended by the county's auditor.
Should the commissioners approve the proposal, the ordinance would govern the hiring of workers in departments under the county board's authority, such as the assessor's office and the Union County Ambulance Service.
The state's attorney said the proposal would be circulated to the county's individual officeholders for their consideration.