Aug. 23 Winnebago County Board notes

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118841409310587.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Paul Gorski (D-5) would not confirm a bid for County Board chairman. Gorski may be stepping aside for fellow Democrat John Nelson, who is considering a run.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11884142139016.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘At the Aug. 27 City Council meeting, Ald. Lenny Jacobson (D-6), right, cast the only vote opposing the annexation of the Bradley Heights-Larchmont county subdivision, which is surrounded by Rockford and Loves Park.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118841415623180.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Doug Aurand (D-3), center, said he could no longer support the proposed benefits plan.‘);

Board rejects benefits plan for new members

A Resolution Affixing Benefits for Elected County Board Members was defeated in a 14-12 vote after debate about the fairness of the plan Aug. 23.

Bob Kinnison (R-10), who supported the proposal, explained, “This is nothing more than giving board members, future board members I should add, access to the county insurance.”

By law, the plan would not apply to current board members, even if re-elected. Future board members would pay 30 percent of whichever benefit tier they choose. As noted by John Harmon (R-4), taxpayers would pick up the remaining 70 percent.

Full-time county employees pay 20-percent, while no insurance is made available to part-timers.

For this reason, the resolution didn’t sit well with Mary Ann Aiello (R-9)

“I’m really uncomfortable with this because we’ve got between 150 and 200 part-time individuals that work for the county now on a regular basis that are not eligible for any type of insurance at all,” Aiello told colleagues. “We are really considered part time….I just think this is a bad precedent to set because we’re allowing ourselves to get insurance, and not the part-time employees who work for us.”

Kinnison and Randy Olson (R-1) argued, however, board members are elected officials and are not considered part-time employees.

Doug Aurand (D-3), who’d originally been inclined to support the resolution, expressed second thoughts.

“I don’t like the idea that we, as elected officials, are going to get something that other county employees are not entitled to,” Aurand said. “If you’re going to do something like this, it should be done at the same time you come in with any other benefits for the County Board officials.”

Still holding the floor, Aurand denounced the board’s policy of additional pay for committee chairmen.

“You should be a chairman of the committee because you want to serve, not for that extra little bit of money you’re going to receive,” Aurand argued.

In the end, “no” votes from Aiello, Aurand, John Ekberg (R-10), Frank Gambino (R-14), Angie Goral (D-7), Paul Gorski (D-5), Harmon, Karen Hoffman (D-11), Kyle Logan (R-3), Pete MacKay (R-5), Mel Paris (D-8), Dorothy Redd (D-6), John F. Sweeney (R-14), and Kelly Vecchio (R-7) were enough to reject the benefits plan.

Other resoultions passed

The County Board unanimously approved the Executive Committee’s Resolution Authorizing the Execution of an Agreement between the County of Winnebago and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency [IEMA] for the Development of a Pre-disaster Mitigation Program. The agreement comes with an $80,000 federal grant to aid in the development of a plan to confront natural disasters in Rockford and Winnebago County. Once completed, the mitigation plan could open the door to more state and federal funds.

A resolution to execute an agreement with Testing Service Corporation for engineering services related to Old River and Latham roads was approved.

An intergovernmental cooperation agreement with the Harlem School District was also passed. Per the agreement, Winnebago County gains access to the detention pond at Perryville and Swanson roads for the purpose of environmental study.


Existing county employees Sheila Hill and Jennifer Stacy received promotions to Deputy Directors of Administration and Operations, respectively, with Winnebago County Animal Services.

Who's running for county offices

Joe Bruscato, a City of Rockford attorney, formally announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Winnebago County State’s Attorney Aug. 28. If victorious or unchallenged in the primary, Bruscato will battle for the seat held 21 years by Paul Logli (R), who was sworn in as a Circuit Court judge Aug. 10. Phil Nicolosi (R) took the oath as Logli’s successor the same day and will battle the Democratic nominee to retain his seat in November. So far, no Republicans have stepped forward to challenge Nicolosi.

The race for County Board chairman is also taking shape. Former board member Randy Sturm plans to take on Chairman Scott Christiansen in the Republican primary. Sturm, owner of Valley Manufacturing, provided his own campaign for chairman with a $50,000 loan June 27, according to his most recent D-2 campaign disclosure report.

Paul Gorski (D-5) and State Central Committeeman John Nelson are said to be seeking the Democratic nomination. Gorski would not confirm a bid, but Nelson, who is also an attorney, told The Rock River Times, “I’m seriously interested in running as a Democrat for County Board chairman.”

from the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2007, issue

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