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County Board Votes to Cut Pay & Size

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Board to be reduced by one-third following 2012 election; both moves expected to save County near $40,000 annually.

Macoupin County After being debated for nearly an hour Tuesday, with a vote of 18-5-1, the Macoupin County Board chose to follow through on the results of a public referendum and reduce the number of County Board members from 27 to 18.

“In my opinion, it is our duty to follow through with the wishes of the voters of Macoupin County,” said Chairman Andrew Manar.  “We asked the voters what they wanted and regardless of how difficult it may be to take this path as individuals, it is no time for selfishness. Reducing the size of the County Board is about taking the action that is in the best interest of the citizens of Macoupin County.  I want to commend my colleagues on the County Board for making the right decision”

Manar’s proposal to reduce the Board by one-third comes as a result of a public referendum that the people of Macoupin County voted on in the 2008 General Election.  The idea to put the question of whether or not to reduce the Board size to the voters was originally considered in a “Financial Blueprint” that Manar presented to the Board in early 2008 following the closure of several local coal mines.  Tuesday’s vote was the first opportunity the Board had to address the results of the referendum (where nearly 62% of the voters were in favor of the reduction) as State law provides that each county board is required to determine its size following a decennial census, or only every ten years.

In addition to passing an ordinance to reduce the size of the County Board, an additional ordinance debated at Tuesday’s Board meeting considered cutting the monthly salaries of Board members by 5%. The county ordinance, which was adopted unanimously, will reduce the monthly per diem received for attending monthly Board meetings, the stipend for attending committee meetings, and the salary allotted to the Chairman.

“By adopting this ordinance, we are showing the people of Macoupin County that we continue to be serious about taking every step that we can to maintain our balanced budget,” said Manar.  “We understand that this is a time where taxpayers expect their board members to make disciplined decisions and be fiscally responsible.”

Combined, both measures are expected to save taxpayers between $35,000 and $40,000 on an annual basis.  Manar noted that the County’s general fund spends about as much money in the current fiscal year as it did in 2001.

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The two ordinances adopted by the Board are the latest in a series of steps over the past four years that have been designed to protect core services of county government, while at the same time continuing to seek maximum efficiency and reductions in spending where possible in the County budget.

“For the past several years, we as a Board have demanded that County officials preserve services for county residents and achieve savings whenever possible by streamlining their office operations to become more efficient.  Today, the County Board took a big step by saying that we hear and accept what the voters have to say and we, too, have to do more with less.  I am proud of my colleagues; we made the right decision,” said Manar.

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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Community News

School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Community News

Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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