July 7, 2014

Issues, ideas hashed about

County officials field questions

By CHERYL ODDEN

While McLean County isn’t in the heart of the state’s bustling oil economy, it isn’t immune from impact.

Two guests of the Garrison Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee shared their thoughts about several county issues.

Chief Deputy J.R. Kerzmann and Commissioner Pam Link seemed to agree on several areas of concern.

The two said retention of county employees has been difficult. They referred to a "revolving door" of personnel such as deputies, road equipment operators and dispatch/jailers. Kerzmann and Link noted that shortage of personnel is due to several factors. One that’s especially costly to the county is loss of trained employees who leave for higher paying jobs.

Citing loss of about nine deputies in two years, Link said, "Over the last two years, we’ve raised (deputy) salaries and I’d like to raise them again." She said pay hikes for highway department employees are also needed.

Discussing an area wide shortage of housing. Kerzmann said housing continues to be an issue due to "low availability and high cost."

To help ease the problem, Link said she’d like the county to lease property that would be available to essential county personnel.

During the Monday meeting, Kerzmann and Link shared ideas to help curb drug traffic in the county. Kerzmann told members of the Governmental Affairs Committee, "With narcotics, it’s zero tolerance in McLean County."


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