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Concealed-carry, medical marijuana policies on the Whiteside County Board agenda

Published: Monday, April 14, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

MORRISON – Replace isn’t quite the right word.

When the Whiteside County Board meets Tuesday, Chairman Jim Duffy will fill the spot left vacant by the death of longtime board member Tony Arduini, who died March 4 at the age of 92.

Arduini served 49 years on the county board, 22 years as its chairman, so his replacement will have big shoes to fill. Like Arduini, he or she must be a Democrat.

The board also will vote for a new vice chairman, the position Arduini held at the time of his death.

Concealed carry

Among the items up for discussion is a proposed concealed carry policy for county employees and others doing the county’s business.

It will get its first airing Tuesday, and be set for adoption at the May 20 meeting.

It follows the requirements of the Illinois Firearms Concealed Carry Act.

In general, county employees and volunteers, except for law enforcement personnel required to carry weapons, cannot carry or possess guns on any and all county property, in county vehicles, or while conducting business for the county on private property or using private vehicles, even if they have a concealed-carry permit.

They can store a gun in a private vehicle on county property, as long as the vehicle isn’t being used to conduct county business.

The ban also applies to “weapons of any type.”

Employees who know of anyone violating the policy are required to report the violation to the supervisor or department head, who then is required to discipline the employee, and/or report him or her to law enforcement.

Medical marijuana

An amendment to the county zoning ordinance to cover the possible cultivation and/or dispension of medical marijuana in Whiteside County is expected to be passed Tuesday.

In general, it follows the strictures imposed by the state’s Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, which takes effect in June.

State law puts strict restrictions on cultivation centers, to ensure professional licensing, 24-hour surveillance and inventory control, and on the facilities that will dispense the drug.

Each cultivation center must comply with local zoning laws, and be located at least 2,500 feet from day care centers and schools.

There will be only 22 cultivation centers statewide – one for each State Police district. District 1 also encompasses Carroll, Lee and Ogle counties, so there’s no guarantee a cultivation center will be located in Whiteside County.

There will be no more than 60 licensed dispensaries in the entire state, and all must comply with rules set by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Among the requirements: Dispensaries must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, or adult or child day cares; they must be at least 500 feet from residential areas, parks and churches.

If adopted, the amendment will take effect immediately. The full text will be available on the county’s website.

Credit card use

The board also will hear a proposed written credit card policy, which, if adopted at the May 20 meeting, will be the county’s first. It will take effect immediately.

Drafted by county Administrator Joel Horn, it calls for the board to OK each credit card request, and requires all purchases be for business purposes only: “No personal expenses of any kind are allowed to be charged,” the policy states.

Unauthorized use of a county credit card “may result in discipline up to and including discharge.”

In addition, all credit card bills must be submitted to the administrative office.

In a somewhat related matter, the board also is expected to pass an amendment setting the maximum meal and travel expense reimbursement at $41 in state, and $50 out of state, for those conducting county business. If passed, it will take effect Tuesday.

Hiring freeze

In June 2010, the board imposed a hiring freeze preventing departments from replacing workers who retired or quit, unless its Executive Committee determined the vacancy affected public safety or was essential to the county.

Because the county’s financial picture has improved, the board will consider loosening the freeze to allow departments to replace workers up to staffing levels called for in the current budget, without seeking Executive Committee approval.

To attend

The Whiteside County Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Law Enforcement Center at 400 N. Cherry in Morrison.

Go to www.whiteside.org and click on documents and forms for an agenda for this meeting or minutes from past meetings, or call 815-772-5100 for more information.

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