Executive committee neutral on board meeting cancellation

Executive committee neutral on board meeting cancellation

CARLINVILLE (Dec. 7, 2017) – During Tuesday night’s meeting The Macoupin County Board Executive Committee was asked to make a recommendation regarding the proposed cancellation of the regular Macoupin County Board meeting for January.

“The last thing I want to do is make a recommendation,” said board member Tony Wiggins, who expressed his belief that there was no reason to cancel the monthly meeting.

“I think, from what I have heard from [County Board Chair Mark Dragovich], we’ve had a lot more committee meetings than normal, so the budget’s already a little over what it should be,” said County Clerk Pete Duncan. “This was Mark’s idea; instead of to increase the budget, (since we have $129 surplus) to cancel the January meeting.”

Executive Committee Chair Julia Watson added, “We’ve done it once before.”

The committee decided to remain neutral on the issue and offered no recommendation regarding the January meeting.

The committee also approved the draft agenda for the December board meeting and the revolving loan fund report for November. All payments were up to date except for two still pending from R & A Enterprises for the months of October and November.

Finally, the committee recommended the full board approve the 2018 Citizen’s Guide to Macoupin County Government along with the Freedom of Information Act officers for 2018.

Public Safety

During the Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, Animal Control Administrator Buzie Bertagnolli sought compensation for unused vacation, sick and personal days upon her retirement. She has currently built up 165 unused vacation days, 39 unused personal days and 107 unused sick days. Though Bertagnolli never formally announced an intent to retire, she made it clear that she intends  to do so sooner rather than later.

“It won’t be 18 months, I can guarantee that,” said Bertagnolli.

Bertagnolli noted she has been the sole full-time employee of Macoupin County Animal Control since 2011, working seven days a week with no pay for overtime. During her time as administrator, her pay has never increased to reflect her department head position.

“It seems like I fall in this weird thing where I’m a department head when there is s— rolling downhill, and I’m in charge when things aren’t going right, but when it comes to benefits of being a department head, I get the same thing as the girls in the courthouse,” said Bertagnolli. “Well, the thing is, I don’t really get the same. They get 14 holidays and I don’t get one.”

The changes made to the county’s animal control department under Bertagnolli have been dramatic, including abandoning the former euthanization practices in order to meet and exceed state requirements of qualification for a no-kill shelter (according to Bertagnolli, only 2 percent of animals are euthanized in her shelter). In order to achieve this, Bertagnolli had to agree to make the department self-sufficient, meaning that county does not financially contribute to the shelter. This meant that when a new facility was built for the department, Bertagnolli was forced to raise the necessary funds independently and on her own time.

The committee voted to support Bertagnolli’s request to the Financial Committee to receive paychecks for her unused vacation time  in the months following her potentially imminent retirement (though she assured the committee she would give two months advance notice before leaving). The committee further recommended the Financial Committee look into locating funding for an add-on/replacement for Bertagnolli.