County Officials Attend Final Meeting (NOW W/PHOTOS)

Print

Published on November 30 2012 4:00 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

There were many goodbyes said during a special meeting of the Effingham County Board Thursday afternoon.

Four board members have ended their careers in county government, as have three countywide officeholders.

Carolyn Willenburg of rural Mason completed 12 years on the Board, eight years as chairman.  She said the construction of the County Government Center was the thing of which she is most proud, but said the relationships she's established during her time on the Board will be what she will most remember.

(COUNTY BOARD VICE-CHAIRMAN BOB SHIELDS READS A PROCLAMATION IN HONOR OF RETIRING COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN CAROLYN WILLENBURG)

Bob Shields of Beecher City, who had been serving as Board Vice-Chairman, completed 30 years on the Board with Thursday's meeting.  Shields said he is thankful for the trust the voters in his district placed in him in returning him to the Board time and again.

(RETIRING COUNTY BOARD VICE-CHAIRMAN BOB SHIELDS OF BEECHER CITY)

Larry Vahling of Teutopolis completed 10 years on the Board.  Vahling noted the Board oversaw completion of five buildings while he was on the Board while keeping the budget balanced.

(COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN CAROLYN WILLENBURG READS A PROCLAMATION HONORING RETIRING BOARD MEMBER LARRY VAHLING FOR HIS 10 YEARS OF SERVICE ON THE BOARD)

Wayne Russell served this year on the Board after Jim Reeves resigned.  Russell did not seek election to his own term, but said everyone should be required to serve the public as he did this year on the Board, saying you learn a lot.

(RETIRING BOARD MEMBER WAYNE RUSSELL LISTENS AS COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN CAROLYN WILLENBURG READS A PROCLAMATION RECOGNIZING HIS SERVICE ON THE BOARD)

Thursday was also the final meeting for State's Attorney Ed Deters, Circuit Clerk Becky Jansen and County Coroner Leigh Hammer.   Deters said appreciated the opportunity to serve, equating himself to a local basketball coach in that some disagreed with some of his decisions, but he said he always tried to be fair in his decision-making.

(EFFINGHAM COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY ED DETERS LISTENS TO INCOMING BOARD MEMBER DOUG McCAIN DURING A RECEPTION FOR RETIRING COUNTY OFFICIALS THURSDAY)

Jansen is departing after serving in the Circuit Clerk's office for 24 years, the last eight as Circuit Clerk.  She thanked everyone for the opportunity to serve and said she would remember the friends she has made through the years.

(EFFINGHAM COUNTY CIRCUIT CLERK BECKY JANSEN LISTENS AS COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN CAROLYN WILLENBURG READS A PROCLAMATION REGARDING HER YEARS OF SERVICE)

Hammer also thanked the public for the opportunity to serve and said she tried to do her best on behalf of those who lost friends and loved ones through her tenure.

(COUNTY CORONER LEIGH HAMMER {middle} WITH BOARD MEMBER LARRY VAHLING AND CIRCUIT CLERK BECKY JANSEN GREETING WELLWISHERS DURING THURSDAY'S RETIREMENT RECEPTION)

Doug McCain, Mike Depoister, Joseph Thoele and Lloyd Foster will replace Willenburg, Shields, Vahling and Russell on the Board.  Bryan Kibler, John Niemerg and Duane Guffey will succeed Deters, Jansen and Hammer in their posts.

The new board chairman and vice-chairman are expected to be chosen at a meeting on Monday at which the board members will be sworn in for their terms by County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel.  Kibler, Niemerg and Guffey are to be sworn in by Judge Kimberly Koester at a ceremony at 7pm Friday at the County Government Center.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the Board finalized the reallocation of funds to make sure the budget for the county fiscal year ending Friday was balanced, and an electric power aggregation plan of operation and governance was approved with member David Campbell voting No.  The Board agreed unanimously the county board chairman should be the local purchasing agent for electric energy with the board vice-chairman or the Tax and Finance Committee chairman as the alternates.  Willenburg said the company overseeing the aggregation effort should go out for bids in the next couple of weeks.

Following a closed session, the Board approved a two-year contract with the Laborers Local representing clerical staff in the State's Attorney, Circuit Clerk, County Clerk and County Treasurer's offices and the maintenance staff in the County Sheriff's office; about 30 county employees are affected by the decision.  The contract is retroactive to last year so those employees will get a 1-1/2% wage hike for the year just ending and a 2% boost for the year just beginning on Saturday.