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Grundy board alters start time for meetings

Will now meet at 6 p.m. so more working individuals can attend

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 1:00 p.m. CDT

The Grundy County Board will next meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.

While the night is not unusual – the board has traditionally met on the second Tuesday of each month – the time is a bit out of the ordinary. Following a vote of the board during its first regular meeting of the new fiscal year, however, 6 p.m. is the new norm.

“That’s an easy one,” board member Dave Boggs said Tuesday of his reason for motioning for the time change. “So that working people, even if they work in Chicago, can get down here for the meetings.”

He noted that the board, two decades ago, held its meetings in the morning and the move to evening meetings was designed to accommodate working board members, as well as members of the public. “We are being time conscious for the people who are working,” Boggs said.

While no one spoke against the move to start regular meetings 30 minutes later, the measure passed on just a 13-4 vote. Board members John Galloway, Frank Halpin, Richard Joyce and James Ryan were opposed to the move, while Debra Warning was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

During the board’s reorganizational meeting last week, when Boggs first attempted to bring consideration of a time change to a vote, it was Galloway who noted such action was not on the agenda and, therefore, could not be voted on in a binding fashion.

“Thank you, mister chairman,” he said when Chairman Ron Severson asked for the motion to be withdrawn that night. “I need to talk to my wife about that and see if she’s OK with it.

Galloway did not make it clear on Tuesday whether his vote was because his wife was opposed to the move.

In other moves leftover from its bi-annual reorganizational meeting, the board adopted new Rules of Order and Procedures for itself, as well as a new listing of committee assignments.

A few of the committees in place during the previous two years were eliminated, while others were recombined to form different committees.

The rules and procedures simply spell out the policies under which the board will operate during the two years until the 2014 election, when half of the board members will again be up for election. One noteworthy change questioned by long-time board member Richard Joyce was in policy regarding the use of substitute board members.

The practice is condoned at least twice in the document, including under “Compensation of Officers of the County Board,” where it is stated, “In event that a committee member is not able to attend a meeting, that committee member, with the consent of the chairperson or vice chairperson, may substitute with another member not on the said committee. The member substituting shall receive per diem for said meeting.”

The use of board members as substitutes on committees proved controversial on a couple of occasions during the previous board term. However, newly seated State’s Attorney Jason Helland assured the board Tuesday that the Illinois Constitution gives the county board “authority to make its own rules on this.”

The county board also has the authority to determine its own standing committees, which it also approved Tuesday. The new listing of committees reduces the number to 14 from the 17 that have been in place. Those eliminated entirely were the Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Procurement committees, which board members said were not called upon to meet often and frequently replicated other committees’ responsibilities.

Other committees either underwent name changes and/or were recombined in some fashion. These include the Rules committee, which appears to be a hybrid of the former Advisory Committee; the Community Relations committee, which was renamed from Media Relations and has had its role expanded to include jurisdiction over the county’s transportation system; the Law & Justice Committee, formerly the Criminal Justice Committee; and  Land Use, which had been Planning & Zoning.

Additionally, Personnel and Insurance have been merged into a single committee and the Technology Committee has absorbed the previously separate Elections Committee.

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