Editorials

Thanks, taxpayers, for $510,495 in benefits for part-time county leaders

Mark Kern was paid $98,431 last year to be St. Clair County Board chairman, plus received health and pension benefits. The health and pension costs for Kern and other County Board members was $510,495 last year, a taxpayer expense their peers in Madison County decided to cut even though their costs were less than one-tenth of St. Clair County’s.
Mark Kern was paid $98,431 last year to be St. Clair County Board chairman, plus received health and pension benefits. The health and pension costs for Kern and other County Board members was $510,495 last year, a taxpayer expense their peers in Madison County decided to cut even though their costs were less than one-tenth of St. Clair County’s.

Maybe there needs to be a GoFundMe drive for St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern. Apparently his fortune is gone and he needs some help.

One arrives at that obvious conclusion after finding he requires public health benefits as well as a public pension.

St. Clair County Board members, including Kern, cost taxpayers $510,494.69 last year for their Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and health insurance benefits. There were 27 of them expecting taxpayer contributions to their retirement and 26 expecting taxpayers to fund their health insurance in addition to their salary of $15,267 per member.

By comparison, Madison County Board members cost their taxpayers only $40,683 for health and retirement benefits last year. In September they eliminated the retirement benefit.

The election helped kill Madison County’s pension benefit, but the coup de grace was the new state law demanding county board members submit timesheets each pay period detailing how they actually worked 1,000 hours a year for a decade to be eligible for an IMRF pension. That work must be talking with constituents and attending meetings, not playing in the golf benefit to fund a campaign warchest or thinking big thoughts at 2 a.m.

Here are the St. Clair County Board members, in addition to Kern, who received pension and health benefits in 2015: Michael L. Baker, Fred C. Boch, Sandra J. Chartrand, Carol D. Clark, Edwin L. Cockrell, Marty T. Crawford, Jerry J. Dinges, Kenny A. Easterley, Angela L. Grossmann-Roewe, Oliver Hamilton Sr., Frank X. Heiligenstein, Craig W. Hubbard, Joseph J. Kassly Jr., Joan I. McIntosh, Lonnie Mosley Jr., Roy Mosley Jr., James O’Donnell, Stephen E. Reeb, Dixie M. Seibert, C. David Tiedemann, C. Richard Vernier and John W. West. Robert L. Allen Jr., Nicholas J. Miller and Robert J. Trentman got just pension benefits. Curtis M. Jones, Kenneth G. Sharkey and Lorraine Haywood were just getting health insurance.

If you have an issue with paying $510,494.69 so County Board members get benefits for part-time work, maybe you should let your representative know.

And look forward to the creative timekeeping we expect to find through our latest public records request. Those board members since September have been required to turn in timesheets showing they on average are working 20 hours a week.

Stay tuned.

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