Logan County Board to review per diem policy and possible extra work pay

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[October 18, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, the Logan County Board's Finance Committee held its monthly meeting. Committee members present were finance chairman Chuck Ruben, board vice chairman Bob Farmer, Dave Blankenship, Gene Rohlfs, and Adam Schmidt. Guests were Amy Kuhlman, Katherine Yaple and Kevin Bateman.

One highlight of discussion was per diem rules for board pay.

Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Ruben said he had Sally Turner contact other county clerks about their per diem rules. Per diem is pay per day, and board members receive $60 per diem for attending meetings.

Ruben said Turner also contacted Herman Bodewes of the Union County Council of Illinois. Ruben said Turner was told counties can only do what the state "empowers them to do." The committee chairmen could be paid more per diem, but "the only one of the board that could be paid more than any other member is the county board chairman."

Ruben said the per diem can be changed "midstream," but it would have to be for half the board members. The half that are going on the next term would get the increase, but the other half don't because they were already in office when it was passed.

Ruben said "our interest is in making the per diems equitable in how we handle them." He wants to have a policy in place before the new board members join the board in December. Ruben said he would "draw something up" and get it to the state's attorney for approval before bringing it back to the finance committee.

Committee member Gene Rohlfs said the board chairman, building and grounds committee chairman, and finance committee chairmen, all put in a lot of time working on their committees.

Rohlfs said in his role as Airport and Farm Committee chairman, he had seven meetings during August, which was unusually busy. He said most of it was managerial time, and per diem pay meant he made about $6.89 per hour.

Rohlfs asked about making changes to the per diem for extra work they do for the committees.

Ruben said per diem is one per day and every assigned meeting is a per diem. He said exceptions are meetings and managerial duties for various committee chairs "over and above" the normal meetings. Ruben said any meeting not assigned, the chairman has to sign off on.

Ruben said there could also be exceptions for the committee chairmen for extra work at their committee assignments or for other members for additional work assigned by the chairman and signed off on by him.

Rohlfs asked Ruben whether he would advise filling out a different voucher for the meeting per diems and the other meetings.

Ruben said vouchers could be stapled to the form for regularly attended meetings for bookkeeping purposes.

Ruben said if a board member were to go somewhere such as Bloomington to talk to the Regional Superintendent about an issue or to do research, it would be good to get the board chairman's approval first. If the board chairman said no, board members could do the research on their own time, but not receive pay.

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If someone feels the use of time is abused, that member may talk to Chairman Hepler, and the chairman may want to look more closely at what he signed off on. The chairman may want to look at the situation more closely, but he may also be able to give the reasons the work was done.

Bateman said someone could go to the chairman if something looks questionable. Ruben said board members may question why something was signed off on.

Committee member Adam Schmidt said he likes the idea of wording that protects board members when they are putting in extra time since they are using valuable time and should be paid for it.

Committee member Dave Blankenship asked whether the chairman could override the per diem.

Board member Kevin Bateman said State's Attorney Jonathan Wright told him you cannot turn in two per day even if you do more hours in a day.

Bateman said work has to be something substantial to be put down as per diem, not something like a five minute phone call.

Ruben said most are conscientious about what they turn in. He does not write down every time he stops in the courthouse even if he talks with someone for a couple of hours.

Ruben said someone who makes two trips in a day could turn in two mileage forms for the day.

Rohlfs said ever since he started working with the airport committee, he has kept a business log which includes names of people he meets with and descriptions of what they discussed.


Rohlfs asked about specific pay for some of the managerial duties, but Ruben said the state does not allow for it.

Ruben will work on an addendum concerning per diem to the financial policy for next month. The next finance committee meeting will be Tuesday, November 8 at 5:30 p.m.

[Angela Reiners]

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