Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

August 13, 2013

Effingham County Committee holds off health board appointments

Bill Grimes
Daily News

---- — Effingham County officials are going to hold off on new appointments to the county's Board of Health until at least September.

Monday, the Legislative Committee of the Effingham County Board voted against re-appointing three current board members and one proposed new member. But board Chairman Jim Niemann said his vote against the motion wasn't based on any ill feelings toward the nominees.

"I want to separate the votes," Niemann said. "I want to discuss each candidate individually."

Those up for reappointment are nursing home administrator Lola White, dentist Dr. Charles Horin and longtime physician Dr. Henry Poterucha. Jeff Bloemker of Heartland Human Services has been proposed as a new member.

While current terms expire Aug. 31, Niemann said those members will be allowed to serve until either they are re-appointed, or until a new member is appointed. The chairman said the delay gave other citizens a chance to express an interest in serving.

"I'm inclined to accept further applications," he said.

While the county board has always had the power to appoint health board members, members with various skills have typically been chosen by the health department and submitted to the board.

Health Department Administrator Kim Esker said she was trying to understand all sides of the issue.

"There needs to be standards and policy set," Esker said. "The new board has changed the process."

Esker said she endorses putting out notices on the county website as a recruitment tool.

"I feel like that's a wonderful idea," she said. "But recruiting people to do it is not something we should be doing."

In other action Monday, the committee recommended hiring American Legal Publishing Corporation to codify county ordinances for $5,900. Niemann said the current ordinance cataloging system "is a mess."

"I'd like to get this issue put to bed sooner than later," Niemann said.

The $5,900 fee is a one-time startup fee. Niemann said updates are free for the first year with a nominal charge in future years.

Also Monday, the committee recommended appointing Phil Toops as the "Compliance Oversight Monitor" for the county's new public transportation system. Toops is recently retired from a career with Effingham Truck Sales.

Toops' appointment must also be approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation and CEFS, the operators of Effingham County Public Transit.

The committee also discussed a possible truancy ordinance that would make parents responsible for their children who have more than 18 unexcused absences during any one school year. State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said he'd like to make the parents subject to an ordinance violation that could subject them to fines of up to $500.

"We're trying to hit parents in the pocketbook so they will send Johnny or Susie to school," Kibler said.

Kibler said there's at least five or six children in the county who have more than 30 unexcused absences.