Will County Gazette

Will County Gazette

Friday, November 15, 2019

Will County Finance Committee met May 1.

By Lhalie Castillo | Jun 29, 2018

Meeting 02

Will County Finance Committee met May 1.

Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:

I. Call To Order / Roll Call

Chair Mike Fricilone called the meeting to order at 10:00 am

Attendee Name; Title; Status; Arrived:

Mike Fricilone Chair Present

Ray Tuminello Vice-Chair Present

Steve Balich Member Present

Darren Bennefield Member Present

Gloria Dollinger Member Present

Kenneth E. Harris Member Present

Cory Singer Member Absent

Lauren Staley-Ferry Member Present

Jacqueline Traynere Member Present

Also Present: J. Moustis, H. Brooks and M. Johannsen.

Present from State's Attorney's Office: M. Tatroe.

II. Pledge Of Allegiance To The Flag

Mrs. Tatroe led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

III. Approval Of Minutes

1. WC Finance Committee - Regular Meeting - Apr 3, 2018 10:00 am

Result: Approved [Unanimous]

Mover: Darren Bennefield, Member

Seconder: Steve Balich, Member

Ayes: Fricilone, Tuminello, Balich, Bennefield, Dollinger, Harris, Staley-Ferry, Traynere

Absent: Singer

IV. Old Business

1. Discussion Re: Budget for Health Department Building

(Mike Fricilone)

Mr. Moustis stated our goal is a $25 million budget for the Health Department building. We suggested to Kluber and the Health Department, they design and try to build to that number. Let us see what $25 million will get us. We should officially state the target budget for the Health Department is $25 million so we are on the same page.

Mr. Tuminello stated after revisiting the site design and soft cost numbers presented they felt good about the initial numbers. We are trying to stay on budget and see what we can get for $25 million, without cutting crucial services or programming.

Mr. Fricilone stated there was a lot of talk on circulation and they think they can make the facility circulate better which eliminates square footage, not useable square footage, just the way things circulate.

Mr. Tuminello stated I would strongly suggest taking a tour of the Health Department. I was amazed at the scope and size of the operation. When you start going through the needs and programming of the entire Health Department, it is quite overwhelming to understand what the department does.

Mr. Brooks asked how did we come to a budget of $25 million? How do we know we are getting what we need, more than we need or less?

Mr. Tuminello gave an explanation of the programming for the Public Safety Complex and Courthouse. We feel good with the $25 million number. Kluber felt we would be able to include a tremendous amount of the programming for that number. We understand there may be some additional soft costs with site development we will have to look at in the future. The goal is to not overspend taxpayer dollars, but not cut any vital services and programming from the Health Department. When they show us what we can get for $25 million, we may make adjustments.

Mr. Moustis stated the budget is based on the work done, the needed square footage and understanding costs of some areas, especially the soft costs that were high, the estimates were conservative. They present a wish list, we look at the programming and cost estimates, and then we take an educated guess of the costs while meeting all the programming needs.

Mr. Tuminello stated the TB Clinic has their own levy and budget. There was discussion of adding them into the Health Department building. If we do, we would use some of their funds and levy to pay for the overhead. No one wants to build a building that shortchanges the services to the residents and we will not waste taxpayers’ money. We will continue to meet and in the end, the building will be sufficient for the resident’s needs and is within our budget.

Mr. Moustis stated by law we are required to have a TB Clinic, our TB Clinic is on that site, housed in a doublewide trailer. It makes sense to program them into the building. They have a levy and perhaps they would pay some rent and utility costs. That will add services, not take anything away from the building. The TB Clinic has a separate Board and the Health Department Board is talking to them. This is a positive we did not originally consider.

Mr. Tuminello stated the goal for the Health Department is to be have the construction documents 100% done and on the street in November or December to take advantage of the good construction rates. Once we push into January or February the companies are capped for the year, will not bid and our costs go up. By fast tracking this we will save money, get more for our dollar and that is our end goal.

Mr. Fricilone stated a budget will let us know what, if any, bonding is needed. It was announced today, the feds are going to hold the rate so we will not have to rush to market in the next month. When we passed the Resolution it gave us a three year window, and it will have to be done before April 2019.

V. Other Old Business

VI. New Business

1.Appropriation of Additional Funds for a Tobacco Control & Prevention Media Campaign

(Susan Olenek)

Mrs. Traynere asked for an explanation of the salary and wages.

Ms. Olenek replied the grant picks up a portion of the salary for a manager and a Community Health Educator. Most of the grant will be for advertising.

Mr. Moustis asked is this still part of the tobacco settlement?

Ms. Olenek responded yes. We were notified of this award four or five months ago. We waited to appropriate the funds because we did not know when were going to get it. We get 80% upfront and the other 20% as we bill.

Result: Moved Forward [Unanimous]

To: Will County Board

Mover: Darren Bennefield, Member

Seconder: Steve Balich, Member

Ayes: Fricilone, Tuminello, Balich, Bennefield, Dollinger, Harris, Staley-Ferry, Traynere

Absent: Singer

2. Appropriating Grant Funds in the Sheriff's Budget from Department of Homeland Security Port Security Grant Program

(LT. Nat Freeman/Vicki Hayes)

Result: Moved Forward [Unanimous]

To: Will County Board

Mover: Darren Bennefield, Member

Seconder: Steve Balich, Member

Ayes: Fricilone, Tuminello, Balich, Bennefield, Dollinger, Harris, Staley-Ferry, Traynere

Absent: Singer

3. Authorizing the Will County Executive to Execute an Agreement between the County of Will and the Illinois Housing Development Authority for the Purpose of Funding the Abandoned Residential Property Municipal Relief Program

(Rebecca DeGroate)

A brief discussion took place regarding the use of the funds.

Result: Moved Forward [Unanimous]

To: Will County Board

Mover: Steve Balich, Member

Seconder: Darren Bennefield, Member

Ayes: Fricilone, Tuminello, Balich, Bennefield, Dollinger, Harris, Staley-Ferry, Traynere

Absent: Singer

4. Authorizing County Executive to Execute Necessary Documents for Delinquent Tax Program

(Julie Shetina)

Result: Moved Forward [Unanimous]

To: Will County Board

Mover: Ray Tuminello, Vice-Chair

Seconder: Jacqueline Traynere, Member

Ayes: Fricilone, Tuminello, Balich, Bennefield, Dollinger, Harris, Staley-Ferry, Traynere

Absent: Singer

VII. Other New Business

VIII. Public Comment

Mr. Balich stated I sent a FOIA for any money paid to Land Use employees over and above their salaries. I found $68,000 of bonuses were paid, including $5,000 to Mr. Paddock on December 31, 2017. I then sent a FOIA for the information for all departments under the County Executive. The FOIA was denied as it was considered too burdensome. I was told they were working on the request, but it has been more than two month and I don’t have the information. Soon we will be going into the budget process and we need to know. Who approved Mr. Paddock getting a $5,000 bonus on the way out? I want to be informed of what I am voting on. There is an argument it is better to give bonuses rather than raises. I would like to know why employees are getting a raise or a bonus. If they are getting a bonus there should be a line item it comes from.

Mrs. Tatroe stated the denial came from the Treasurer’s office. He was asking for several years of history on all employees. Our payroll system does not allow this information to be pulled. Someone has to pull all the payroll records and go paycheck by paycheck for 3,000 employees over several years.

Mr. Moustis stated when I came on this Board we had a personnel budget; a line item for every employee and money could not be moved from one employee to another. I felt it should be given to the office and let them manage their budget. I never anticipated people would be giving bonuses. This Board determines additional funding for raises, or we tell them you can give raises, but we are not going to give you any additional appropriation. It is not exclusive to the Executive’s Office; if a department allows a vacant position to sit open, the department will have access funds to give out perks or bonuses with no criteria on how an employee gets a bonus. There should be some methodology for bonuses. We should reduce the personnel budget for all departments and there will be less money to manage. If we can give out bonuses, we are overfunding departments. This is something we need to work out before the next budget cycle. If you want a pool of money for perks and bonuses based on a criteria, we should have the discussion and put it in the budget. Right now, it is not upfront and transparent.

Mrs. Traynere stated we should not micromanage. No money is put in the budget for the non-represented for raises. People are picking up extra work and I assume bonuses are given since nobody is getting pay raises. It is less of a burden to give bonuses. I agree with creating a pool of money for bonuses, it would allow us to know how much is available.

Mr. Palmer stated we do not give out bonuses, we give out stipends. We give stipends because they do not go to the base and they don’t add to the long term cost to the county. It is time to do a compensation study to look at what we are paying our managers versus our peers. Either Will County is competitive, above or below. The Board approves union contracts with steps built in. All the union employees get the mandated, contractually agreed to steps, COLA and increases and that is part of their total compensation of health benefits, vacation, etc. Management people do not get that guarantee at all. It is difficult to get union employees to apply for management positions because there is no guarantee of increases. Departments are told to live within your budget, most departments live within their budget. The County bought the health insurance increases of the union employees with steps, COLA and increases. The Executive’s Office did the same thing for our managers, so people are not losing money. We have lost a lot of good people to other governmental units or the private sector, which always happens, but we don’t need to accelerate their departure. Our current finance system does not allow for these requests. Our new system will allow a lot more data analytics giving you more information than you ever wanted. The Land Use staff has shrunk over the past few years, but we the staff’s productivity has increased, less people we are doing much more work. During the budget process is a good time to discuss what we are paying people. Over the past 10 years the union employees have received increases of 20% or more and management is not close. The managers are there to supervise, manage and drive the mission set by the Board. If you don’t show them some appreciation for that it is hard to get them motivated.

Mr. Fricilone stated no one is here to micromanage; but behooves all departments to let us know what is going on, so people don’t just find out this is happening, especially when someone on the way out the door get a stipend.

Mrs. Tatroe stated it is possible that was part of his severance money, vacation and sick time.

Mr. Palmer stated we need to discuss ways of managing our long term liabilities. Such as paying out vacation earlier and not at the end of the career. We have had significant payouts that will significantly drive up the pension obligation. There are huge payouts for people accumulating time at $60,000 and cash out at $120,000.

Mr. Moustis stated the Executive’s Office is not the only office to give out stipends. I am not against giving people a little extra when they have gone the extra mile, done extra work or covered for someone while a position was open. We have lost really good people because of compensation. Because you are unaware of something, does not mean it is wrong. The elected officials need to tell us, if the budget allows they will give out stipends or ask for a transfer into another line item for stipends. I agree our management people go years without a raise and the union employees get a raise every year. We are here to find a better way to address this, keeping the Board and show transparency.

Mr. Tuminello stated in the private sector, there are implications to only the owner. If I give bonuses, it affects the 401K, employment insurance and taxes. When stipends are given, what is the financial implication? If a person gets a $5,000 stipend, do they get a check for $5,000 or are taxes paid? Does it affect IMRF?

Ms. Howard replied all the taxes and IMRF are withheld, the net will not be $5,000.

Mr. Palmer stated we would overspend our budgets if money was added to the base salary Stipends are how we manage our budget and live within our budget.

Mr. Fricilone asked during the budget process, has anyone ever said they were going to give stipends at the end of the year?

Ms. Howard replied during our budget conferences we are asked by the department heads if the Board given any direction as to what we can do to give our non-union employee raises. It would be helpful to have these discussion beforehand to give the department heads direction.

Mrs. Traynere indicated she was in favor of a salary study. We are hurting the county with the loss of employees taking their talent to other counties. We have not looked at the salaries for our non-union employees. Also, I thought Board members were to give Mr. Moustis their request for information instead of doing a FOIA.

Mr. Moustis stated my preference is when County Board members ask for information from an office, it comes through the Board Office. It is a problem if the County Board Office is not given the information. The relationship is different with the County Executive’s Office as they have to give the County Board any information they request.

Mrs. Johannsen stated I do have the backup and support given at the budget conferences.

Mr. Moustis continued I believe non-union employees are pretty well compensated. The problem is different salary ranges between one office and another. I learned of a situation where an employee left an entry level position one office to go to an entry level position in a different office because the starting pay was more. That is something we need to look at internally and how salaries are set for similar type jobs in different offices. We don’t lose people who are exempt employees, we lose directors and heads of departments and we probably fall short on those positions. If we are going to do anything on salaries, I would like to look internally at the comps for similar jobs.

Mr. Palmer stated we do different steps throughout the year, for the union contracts and much is done manually. Our payroll people spend weeks doing all of the employees. That will be better with the new finance system. At one time the County did budget for salary increases of non-union employees within the budget, so when we agreed to a contract there was money in the elected officials’ budgets. The Board approves the budgets and unless they come back and ask for more money they are living with what you approved. The increases for non-union employees has been much less than the union employees. The management team that sits through the negotiations hears the arguments for increases and keeping healthcare costs down then they hear they will pay more for insurance and not get any increases. The FOIA Mr. Balich was referring to was denied by the Treasurer’s Office; because it would have taken weeks to compile. When this happens we ask the person exactly what it is you are looking for and try to get the information. If we pull someone off their regular jobs for a month to do this FOIA, that does create a hardship.

Mr. Fricilone agreed an internal study of salaries should be completed. I would also like to know what each department has lost personnel wise, so we have information on why this is happening. Once we know that we can set the guidelines for the next budget process.

Ms. Howard stated the guidelines will be sent out this week so we can begin the budget conference in June.

Mr. Fricilone stated the guidelines can be we are holding flat right now.

IX. Chairman's Report / Announcements

X. Executive Session

XI. Adjournment

1. Motion to Adjourn at 10:47 am

Result: Approved [Unanimous]

Mover: Jacqueline Traynere, Member

Seconder: Kenneth E. Harris, Member

Ayes: Fricilone, Tuminello, Balich, Bennefield, Dollinger, Harris, Staley-Ferry, Traynere

Absent: Singer


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Will County Finance Committee