Kendall County Board member Dan Koukol has agreed to credit the county for three meeting payments - and Chairman John Purcell thinks that should be the final word on the matter.
Purcell reviewed Koukol's meeting pay vouchers over the past year and found that Koukol, of Oswego, was improperly paid an $85 per diem three times over the past year. County board members request meeting payments by submitting vouchers, usually once a month, so Koukol is going to attend three meetings without requesting the associated $85 pay, Purcell said.
Purcell's review sharply contrasts with Finance Committee Chairman Anne Vickery's review, which found Koukol was improperly paid for more than 50 meetings since taking office in December 2010. Purcell started his review with June 2011 because other board members had claimed, in May 2011, that Koukol had improperly been paid for about 15 meetings. They decided to review the rules with him last May.
Purcell said he thought there was no ill intent behind Koukol's pay requests over the past year.
"Others made mistakes, too," Purcell said. "It's interesting that we're not looking at all board members."
Purcell did not have an itemized list of both his and Vickery's findings at Tuesday's County Board meeting, but Purcell thought Koukol, who chairs the county's Economic Development Committee, appropriately sought payment for attending meetings and functions associated with economic development. Vickery has said she did not believe those meetings - which are separate from the county committee meetings - were covered.
Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis suggested the board hire an outside auditor after recent Kendall County Board candidate Todd Milliron filed a complaint with his office, seeking a criminal investigation of Koukol's pay, and of Purcell for allegedly conspiring with Koukol. Weis estimated a review of all 10 board members' pay could cost $5,000 to $10,000.
After hearing Purcell's announcement Tuesday, county board member Jessie Hafenrichter said she thought the matter needed to be discussed and aired publicly. She thanked Purcell for clarifying his thoughts on payments for meetings related to economic development functions and organizations.
“I think it was the chairman’s assignments that were in question," Hafenrichter said.
For his part, County Board member Robert Davidson said he wanted to avoid the cost of an independent audit.
“There’s no way I’m going to spend $10,000 or $15,000 when we’ve got negotiations coming up," said Davidson, referring to contract talks with 10 of the 11 unions covering county employees. "Every dollar we can save we’ve got to save.”