Skip to content

Hourly salary recommended at Animal Control

Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Writer

(TAYLORVILLE) — Members of the Executive, Personnel, Liquor and Legislative Committee of the Christian County Board met on Monday night in theTaylorville Courthouse. The committee sent a recommendation to the Finance Committee, which meets on Wednesday, to set the salary for Dwanna Kelmel, as an hourly rate. The other option was to classify her as a manager and set her salary at slightly more than $35,500 per year.

Kelmel, whose title appears to be Assistant Animal Control Director, was approved at the last County Board meeting as the person to “run the day- to-day operations” of Animal Control, according to Matt Wells, county board chairman, who spoke at the committee meeting. Vince Harris, who was hired by the Board at the same meeting as the county’s Solid Waste Management Director, retains the title of Animal Control Director. Harris now heads up three county departments – animal control, zoning and solid waste.

Committee member Bryan Sharp felt there needed to be some clarity to the job descriptions for Harris.

Committee Chairman Craig Corzine noted there were “A lot of muddy waters” here.

Bet Graham, a county board member who was at the meeting felt Harris “Couldn’t be at all three places at one time.”

“I don’t know if someone can handle all three jobs,” Corzine said. “But personally, I think Vince (Harris) can do all three.” Wells pointed out there Harris does a lot of fund- raising for animal control and people “like Vince and like to donate money.”

Another committee member, Gene Price pointed out the reason the item was on the agenda was to recommend a salary, not to discuss the job descriptions.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend the hourly salary.

There was a discussion on salaries for telecommunications, or dispatchers, for the 9-1- 1 system which covers Christian Count and Shelby County. Member of the Christian-Shelby County Joint Emergency Telephone Systems Board, Pana Chief of Police Daniel Bland, spoke to

the committee about retention of dispatchers. He requested the committee and his board try to work on a plan to help with staff retention.

Bland pointed out there were 19 hires as dispatchers in 2016 and as of today, only 6 have been retained. Right now, Bland said, they have nine full time positions and only eight to fill those rolls. There are four part-time dispatchers.

He presented a comparison of salaries among local counties which shows Christian County has the lowest starting pay at $17.26 per hour in a step plan which takes the person to $45,000 at the end of four years. Part-time help is paid $16.25 per hour. In comparison, Shelby County dispatchers start at $24.00 and part-time, $20.00. In

Montgomery County, starting salary is $25.89 for full time and $22.79, part- time.

Wells thought one of the places to start is with the union representative for the unionized dispatchers. He felt they could suggest incentives which would help retain employees.

In other matters:

• The committee recommended to include the elected offices by name in the policy which reduces the starting salary for the position by 10% if a non- incumbent holds the office. This would name the offices of county clerk, the circuit clerk, coroner, supervisor of assessments and treasurer.

• Working to update the personnel handbook for county employees. An organization which the county belongs to, the United County Council of Illinois (UCCI), has reviewed the document and made many suggestions in language changes and deletions. Wells felt the committee might need extra time to go through the document and those suggested changes. No copies were made available to the public.

• Committee voted to recommend to the full county board to opt out of the West Central Illinois Development Council.

• The need to specify any stipend any county office holder receives other than their regular salary. Wells said a new state law requires this.

The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.

Leave a Comment