The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 20, 2013

More plan to frequent meetings

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL and CAROL ROEHM
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — A change in occupations will mean improved monthly meeting attendance, said one Vermilion County Board member.

An examination of minutes from the six monthly Vermilion County Board meetings in July through November and a special meeting of the full board on July 27 found that two board members — Larry Davis of District 9 and Kevin Green of District 2 — missed half of the meetings.

For Davis, the missed meetings are a carryover from the first half of the year when he also missed half of the meetings, according to county board minutes.

Davis, who has been a board member since 2006, cited his work as a truck driver in June as the reason for the missed meetings and said it was the same reason for two of his three absences in the latter half of the year.

“Trucking is not what everybody thinks it is,” Davis said. “It’s hard to get back.”

He added that overnight stays in locations made it difficult to make it back in time for scheduled meetings sometimes.

According to county board minutes, Davis had absences in September and October that were listed as excused by previous board chairman Jim McMahon.

Since the end of October, however, Davis said he has started working at House of Bikes, 533 E. Main St. He believes the business hours — which end at 6 p.m. — shouldn’t keep him from making future county board meetings.

“My boss allows me to leave early for committee meetings,” he said, citing the Jan. 8 board meeting as an example. “It’s a lot more flexible.”

Davis’ third absence was from the November board meeting. He said he was sick that night. Board minutes did not list the absence as excused.

Like Davis, work also is the reason behind the late year board meeting absences by Kevin Green. Green, board notes indicate, had consecutive absences from the August, September and October board meetings. All were listed as excused.

Green, a career farmer in the Oakwood area, explained the situation by saying he was in the fields in September and October picking corn and soybeans. Because of drought conditions in 2012, local growers were in the fields early trying to salvage their dried out crops.

“Planting and harvesting is always a conflict for farmers,” Green said, adding he expects to be able to make all the meetings up this year.

Green said his other missed meeting — in August — came as a result of a vacation to Guatemala. Green, who did not miss a meeting during the first half of the year, has been a county board member since 2004.

Overall, 16 of the 27 members of the county board had perfect attendance for the second half of the year. Of those, six board members — John Criswell of District 5, John Dreher of District 7, Ivadale Foster of District 8, Craig Golden (no longer on the board), Chris Leigh of District 1, Orick “Corky” Nightlinger of District 5 and Terry Stal of District 4 — had perfect attendance through November.

The board’s December meeting was not taken into account because it was a reorganizational meeting where new members were sworn in.

With the new next fiscal year, a new salary structure was initiated for the board that pays a flat fee of $250 per month for the board members, except for the chairman. The board members will be docked $50 for each unexcused absence from board or committee meetings.

Only three unexcused absences were recorded in board minutes between January and November.

The two boards of education in Danville show good attendance records by their members.

DACC

Two of the seven trustees who serve on Danville Area Community College’s Board have had perfect attendance. They are Dr. Ron Serfoss and David Harby.

Trustees who have missed only one time in the last six months are Dick Cheney, retired Judge John O’Rourke, Sandi Randall and Coach John Spezia.

Board of trustees’ president Vickie Miller missed the October and November meetings due to a serious health issue.

District 118

Greg Hilleary joins Frank Young this time as one of the two members of the seven-member Danville School District 118 Board of Education who has had perfect attendance at the district’s nine regular meetings since July 1.

The attendance count does not include the several special meetings the district has conducted during the work day to deal with student discipline matters or minor issues.

“It’s very important that you are in attendance and stay on top of the correspondence,” Hilleary said of his commitment on the board. “It takes a lot of time.”

“Time management also is critical in that we’re here on time for the parents, the students and the general public,” he said.

School board members who have missed two meetings in the past six months are Steve Bragorgos and Gina McGuire.

Members who have missed one meeting since July 1 are board president Bill Dobbles and board members Dr. Randal Ashton and Dan Brown.