New county board seated

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Pictured, from left, are Monroe County commissioners George Green, Vicki Koerber and Dennis Knobloch. Koerber was unanimously approved as the new county board chairman. 

A new Monroe County Board was seated Monday morning at the courthouse, with Vicki Koerber being unanimously approved as chairman.

Commissioner Dennis Knobloch was approved as vice chairman of the board.  Newly elected George Green is the third commissioner. All are Republicans.

Koerber, who became the county’s first female commissioner four years ago, became the first female county board chairman in the county’s 204-year history. 

“I feel like the jobs I have had serving citizens for years – as county coroner, Waterloo city councilman, 20 years with Monroe County EMS and four years on the county board have been preparing me for this new challenge, and I am totally committed to doing my very best to continue to serve all the citizens and their needs,” Koerber told the Republic-Times. “Although this is an all-Republican board of commissioners, I feel very much that we have a shared responsibility to work together to best represent and serve all elements of our citizenry.  Our job – all three of us together – is to get the job done for everybody.” 

Koerber succeeds outgoing board chairman Bob Elmore in the role. Green defeated Democratic challenger Duane Langhorst for Elmore’s seat on the board.

The new board’s first action was to codify county employee compensation and salary adjustments.  The stated purpose in doing this is to maintain financial stability of county government and ensure all changes are reflected in the established annual budget.  

The action applies to all elements of the county and affiliated offices and institutions – including those on the payroll of Oak Hill Senior Living & Rehabilitation.

Regular payroll changes take effect Dec. 1 each year, and any individual changes or increases proposed by a department head will require approval of two or three members of the county board prior to any employee salary increase.

Several resolutions followed, with the first designating depositories for public monies received by any elected county officials.  Twelve institutions were identified: Associated Bank, Regions Bank, Midland State Bank, Central Bank of St. Louis, Simmons Bank and FCB Banks, all of Columbia; State Bank and First National Bank of Waterloo; Dieterich Bank and North County Savings Bank, Red Bud; Buena Vista National Bank, Chester and Illinois Funds, Springfield.

Koerber was appointed as the East-West Gateway Council representative and reappointed to the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System Board and Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission.

Knobloch was reappointed to the Monroe County Board of Health.  

Green was appointed to the Western Egyptian Economic Board of Directors.  

Chuck Pittman, Gene Stumpf and Tim Berg were reappointed to the Monroe County Regional Planning Commission and Marge Francois was reappointed to the Monroe County Assessment Board of Review.  Finally, Clyde Heller was reappointed to the ILLINOISouth Tourism Board.

Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger provided his department’s five-year improvement program. He noted $324,290.64 for rebuilding Hanover Road (Phase 1) is coming from Illinois funds hoped to total more than $1.4 million in six allotments of $238,365 each – two of which have been received to date. 

He also asked that some $800,000 of Motor Fuel Tax funds be appropriated for maintaining county roads, to include purchase of road salt. 

On that latter item, he noted that chemical has fallen to about $41.82 per ton down from $76.14 a ton last year.

“We will buy all of the salt we can afford at this price,” he said. 

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner the county COVID-19 infection rate is running at about 40-50 cases per day.  He added that no significant increase in positives has so far been seen from Thanksgiving, although that could be the case very soon.

Finally, Koerber asked all present to pause for a moment of silence to remember the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  

“We want to honor all those who have served and continue to serve today,” she said.

The final county board meeting of the year takes place Monday, Dec. 21.  

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