DIXON – Lee County’s department heads may be required to make their case in writing if they want to fill vacancies.
Today, the County Board is expected to vote on an amendment to the county’s “hiring freeze” policy that would require such documentation.
Under the proposal, department heads would have to give the reasons for seeking to fill or create positions – paperwork that would include other options considered, such as redistribution of duties and part-time employment.
They also must give the financial impact of making hires.
Board member Dick Binder, R-Compton, has long pushed to seek documentation from department heads, saying the county lacks a policy on how to make hiring requests.
“It’s very inconsistent in the way our decisions come out,” he said. “If the sun is shining and the right people are there, you get a vacancy filled. If the sun isn’t shining, you don’t.”
Board Chairman Rick Ketchum, D-Amboy, said members want more documentation.
“[The department heads] have been doing it anyhow, but we’re going to put that requirement into writing,” he said.
The county enacted its hiring freeze a few years ago, updating it in 2011.
The board’s Executive Committee looks at the freeze on a case-by-case basis. According to the policy, the panel can take a number of factors under consideration – including whether the work is essential to the county and whether alternatives were considered.
After determining a need, the Executive Committee must refer the issue to the full board for a vote.
Last year, then-State’s Attorney Henry Dixon brought the issue of hiring another prosecutor and clerical employee to the board because of an increase in murders in Lee County.
The county unanimously approved the request.
Binder said Dixon did a good job with his presentation and written materials.
“He made the case for it,” Binder said. “There was no doubt we had more murders than we normally do.”
The Lee County Board meets at 9 a.m. today on the third floor of the Old County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St. in Dixon.
Call 815-288-5676 for more information.