No merger for clerk and recorder offices

URBANA -- A proposal to merge the Champaign County recorder's office into the county clerk's office died quickly and quietly Tuesday night.
The idea, which had been raised last month for a possible countywide vote in November, found virtually no support but plenty of opposition, particularly from among Republicans.
The current recorder, Republican Barb Frasca, who said she is not running for reelection in 2016, was among the leading opponents. 
Although advocates had said it could save the county as much as $50,000 a year, opponents said service at the dual-purpose office might suffer.
"There's no champion for this process and that's important because even if we all agree that it should be on the ballot and things like that go on the ballot, if nobody's out there to work for them and advocate for them, they tend to fail," Urbana Democrat James Quisenberry told a meeting of the majority Democrats before Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting. "I've got no feedback that I would say is positive about pursuing this question. If that's the case then I don't know why we'd spend our time on it."
Another Urbana Democrat, Ralph Langenheim, expressed support for the proposal but no one else joined him.
"We don't seem to like it, the Republicans seem to hate it, a lot of people have written me about hating it, so that's why we're not going to pursue it," Quisenberry said.
Board chairman Alan Kurtz, a Champaign Democrat, said he hadn't heard anyone speak up for the idea.
"Any kind of referendum is going to take work and education to teach the public and it's just not out there, the kind of enthusiasm it would take," he said.
Also Tuesday, board members approved, without discussion, the appointment of former Champaign Park District director Bobbie Herakovich to the county forest preserve district board. She was chosen over current forest preserve board member Robin Hall, who also is president of the district's foundation. Hall also was a former director of the Urbana Park District for 33 years.
"These two applicants have extreme experience in this area. Their resumes are both astounding," said Kurtz. "I interviewed both of them extensively, about issues now and issues in the future."
And the board tentatively approved a new three-year contract with its nursing home management company, Management Performance Associates, Inc., of Chesterfield, Mo.
MPA has overseen operation at the nursing home since 2007. The new contract calls for the county to pay MPA $295,944 annually for general management services, business office management and compliance services. 
A separate agreement calls for the county to pay nursing home administrator Karen Noffke a base salary of $100,000 a year. With benefits included her total compensation is estimated at $122,650.
All 22 board members attended Tuesday's meeting.
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