URBANA — Champaign County Board members deferred acting on granting raises to countywide elected officials until they can get more information.
Board members suggested they wanted more detailed data on how salaries have increased over years, whether it was possible to compare the positions with private-sector jobs and whether the longevity of the elected officials in other counties could be factored in.
The board doesn't have to act on the raises, which would take effect after the November general elections, until its May meeting.
Urbana Democrat Chris Alix bemoaned that board members had no control over who serves in various elected positions and whether they are qualified.
"I can't apparently even request that they show up for work," he said, an apparent reference to county Auditor Tony Fabri, who has been accused for years of not showing up for work.
Alix added that "it's hard for me to see the argument to raise the salaries for positions that are going to be filled anyway."
Champaign Democrats C. Pius Weibel and Alan Kurtz both said they had received emails from county residents suggesting that the salaries for county officeholders be cut.
"Let's be careful before we seriously talk about reducing these salaries," Urbana Democrat Tom Betz cautioned at the Democratic board members' caucus before the full board meeting. "The fact that (Republican) Rick Winkel might be the next circuit clerk is not a good enough reason to gut the salary."
Also Tuesday, board members gave preliminary approval to granting a $134,798 contract to C.V. Lloyde of Champaign for installation of a new county courthouse sound and video arraignment system. Two other bidders for the project submitted proposals each totaling about $155,000. The money for the project will come from a $300,000 courts construction fund, said County Administrator Deb Busey.
The board also voted 21-5 to appropriate $14,000 to the intergovernmental legal effort to challenge an anticipated EPA decision allowing PCBs to be dumped at a landfill near Clinton.
Board members also approved relocating the polling place for the City of Champaign 34 precinct from the Parkland College theater lobby to the Tony Noel Agriculture Center at the college. Officials had received complaints about the polling place at the theater lobby, said County Clerk Gordy Hulten.
Of the 27 county board members, only rural Urbana Republican Steve Moser was absent from Tuesday's meeting.