Kendall County Finance Committee Chair Anne Vickery plans to review county board members’ pay monthly after tallying what she says were improper payments to a political opponent.
“I think there’s going to be some changes before the next board takes office, and there are going to be some changes that are going to benefit the taxpayers,” Vickery said.
Vickery said County Board member Dan Koukol requested – and received in error – payment for about 30 meetings since he took office in December 2010. Koukol, chair of the county’s Economic Development Committee, said he received permission to attend and receive payment for economic development organization meetings from County Board Chairman John Purcell.
County board members receive a $200 monthly salary, plus mileage reimbursement, county medical benefits and $85 per day that they attend county meetings. If Koukol was overpaid for 30 meetings, that would mean he collected an extra $2,550 over about 16 months.
The county policy allows board members to seek payment for attending county board and county committee meetings, as well as meetings of outside organizations that they have been appointed to as a county board liaison.
The Board Rules of Order states: “A per day or per diem compensation covers the entire 24 hours in a day. A County Board member who attended a meeting of the County Board, and also one or more committee meetings on the same day, may only receive one per diem of $85. If he attended two or more committee meetings on the same day, he could receive only one per diem of $85.”
The policy for mileage reimbursement is broader. It covers “committee meetings, subcommittee meetings, County Board meetings, county business meetings, seminars, conferences, and out-of-county travel for meetings assigned by the County Board Chair.”
Vickery said economic development organizations are not included in the list of appointments and county committees that qualify for per diems.
Koukol’s requests for reimbursement include a Dec. 9 Yorkville Economic Development Corporation meeting on the state loan program, a Dec. 16 meeting at Waubonsee Community College and an unspecified intergovernmental EDC meeting on Feb. 1. Koukol said he mistakenly wrote that the Feb. 1 meeting happened on Jan. 1 on his per diem voucher.
Koukol said Vickery was on a political witchhunt after failing to receive a Republican nomination in the recent primary for re-election to the county board. He said county board members tend to receive about the same amount of money despite their varying committee assignments.
He attended several functions in his role as Economic Development Committee chair, some which are quite lengthy, he said.
“Economic development is needed in Kendall County,” Koukol said.
As Finance Committee Chair, Vickery said she occasionally had reviewed county board member requests for payments, and talked with Koukol about a year ago regarding which meetings were appropriate for reimbursement.
She said her more recent concerns surfaced before the election, but she waited until after the March 20 primary to discuss them publicly.
“I suppose I will take responsibility for some of this,” Vickery said. “I’ve known this for a couple of months, and I held back on this.”
Editor's note: The Kendall County Board's Board Rules of Order are attached to this article as a PDF.