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County small business grant extended: Sheriff discusses concerns with salaries with county board


GALENA–The Jo Daviess County Board approved the extension of the Jo Daviess County Stabilization Grant program for round three during a special meeting held on Thursday, June 25. The round three applications are due Friday, July 10. Eligibility changes include the awarding of additional funding with eligibility to any business that received less than $5,000 in Paycheck Protection Program funding.

“I should point out the number of applicants in round two were half the number of applicants of round one,” said Eric Tison, Jo Daviess County planning and development director. “We will be sure this information gets posted and disseminated to the public.”

“Despite our best effort, the interest in this program is flagging. I think if people have not applied by now, we should either cut it off or only go one more round,” said board member Bob O’Connor. “Just because we earmarked money doesn’t mean we have to use it all.”

Board member John Schultz asked if a business can reapply if they already received money from the county. Tison said that has not been discussed nor had it been requested.

“Some of these people probably didn’t know if they could apply or were waiting for other funding,” said board member Don Zillig. “That might be part of the problem.”

“PPP only covered payroll and utilities. It wasn’t the catch-all like some thought it would be,” said county board chair Scott Toot.

“If PPP recipients received less than $5,000, they can now apply,” said county administrator Dan Reimer. “Those might be people interested in applying now.”

Toot said he has heard many thanks around the county for helping businesses out during the pandemic.


Law enforcement pay

Sheriff Kevin Turner brought forth a recommendation to remove the chief deputy position and the operational lieutenant position from the Jo Daviess County position classification and compensation plan.

Turner is worried about filling his current operational lieutenant position.

“The lieutenant can only backfill when there is a vacant patrol shift and lieutenant would only pay as if they were a sergeant in that overtime position. The lieutenant was making less money as an exempt employee than people he was supervising,” said Turner.

“I am still old school and the clause in the resolution about the lieutenant receiving overtime for picking up shifts that aren’t filled,” said board member Steve Allendorf. “I still would much rather see that taken out and even if we have to give more upfront rather than paying for overtime, I would agree to it. Overtime has cost us thousands and thousands of dollars. It is hard for the sheriff to control because he has to fill those shifts. This is our only opportunity for some time to get the lieutenant position back to where it needs to be to not receive overtime.”

“It is a morale downer if you are ordering a rookie person to fill in and have the person with the least seniority to work,” said Turner.

“In all due respect, I understand what he is trying to do,” said Allendorf. “Why don’t we give the lieutenant a salary with no OT that will be fitting for that position and to make sure that he is being paid enough to avoid that in the future? Exempt employees historically understand that they have to do extra work because of the amount of their salary upset.”

Toot had concern about the salary schedule at the sheriff’s department.

“We lost a good investigator to the state police because of money,” said Toot.

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According to Reimer, the lieutenant position had $28,000 in overtime during fiscal year 2019.

“It is extremely difficult and makes for unhappy employees if you order people to take shifts,” said board member LaDon Trost. “I thought it was more than $28,000. Are we going to increase his salary that much? I don’t think so. It wouldn’t be more than that, but I don’t believe we would increase salaries that much. You have to fill the shifts.”

Board member Drew Townsend asked for the discussion to go back to the executive committee.

“I fear that this might not pass. If this doesn’t pass I fear what that would send as morale back to your officers,” said Townsend. “Maybe the committee can meet quickly to respond to your request for time. I think it would be good to have an agreed upon message.”

The motion was withdrawn and will be discussed at the July board meeting.


Other business

The board also:

•moved the Menominee-Dunleith Fire Department tower discussion back to the law enforcement and courts committee meeting.

•awarded 14 grants associated with the small business stabilization grant program in the amount of $18,108.

•approved $18,108 in claims associated with the awarding of grants.

•approved a professional service agreement with Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering to complete a condition study update of the Jo Daviess County Courthouse and public safety building and assist the county with preparation of grant applications, at a cost of $14,800.

•approved the acceptance of grant support documentation report from Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering.

•approved the appointment of Richard Machala to the position of interim grants administrator and program compliance oversight monitor.

•accepted a letter of resignation from Richard Machala as the chairman of the Grant Administration Oversight Committee.

•appointed John Lang as the chairman of the Grant Administration Oversight Committee.

•appointed Dr. Barbara Kepner to the Jo Daviess County Board of Health for a three-year term ending April 30, 2023.

•approved a claim to American Environmental in the amount of $9,955.19.