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County outsources some administrator duties

DIXON – The Lee County Board has decided to outsource some of the duties performed by its former administrator, and some members are concerned about not filling the position.

Former administrator Theresa Wittenauer, who was hired in 2016, gave her resignation to the board last month, citing ongoing pressure to do so from county officials because of budgetary concerns. She finished up work last week and started as the new city manager in Princeton on Monday.

Board Chairman John Nicholson said members plan to “step back and analyze” the position, and he doesn’t see them hiring anyone in the coming months.

The board approved a contract earlier this week for outsourcing human resources and other services through Sikich LLP, a Naperville-based accounting and professional services firm that Ogle County has used for the last 5 years. The contract is capped at $2,000 a month.

Board member David Bally said they don’t need to hire outside help, and should fill the administrator position that they already put in the budget.

Human resource work made up the majority of Wittenauer’s job, and they’re looking at considerable savings because $125,000 budgeted for the position, Nicholson said.

There was also concern that the county might already be in a contract with AAIM Employers’ Association in Peoria for similar services.

“We should look at that before we approve this contract,” board member Jim Wentling said.

There are already county staff members with HR experience, and the board should have formed an ad hoc committee 2 months ago to work out the details, Sheriff John Simonton said.

‘I think that we need to fill this gap,” board member Judy Truckenbrod said.

The board approved the contract in a 14-to-4 vote with six members absent.

“I feel that this is a really good investment until we decide what to do down the road,” Nicholson said.

Next meeting

The Lee County Board next meets at 9 a.m. Jan. 21 in the third-floor board room of the Old Lee County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St.

The agenda will be posted at 2 days before the meeting.

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