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May 21, 2024

Edgar County’s list of achievements for 2015 ? –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On January 23, 2016


In their usual and sustained inept reporting of county board business, the Prairie Press employed Gary Henry to continue their efforts to minimize any and all things local government gets wrong, and emphasize what that local government says they do right, with an obvious lack of fact checking.

Let’s run through the “Top 10” things County Board Member Dan Bruner says they have as accomplishments for 2015:

  • Paying towards old debt. We’ll give him that, it’s always good to pay old debt, even though 2015 had less paid towards old debt than previous years…AND paying off some of the debt would never have happened if we, the Edgar County Watchdogs, had not convinced the board “by assailing the board members with our usual diatribes” (credit to Gary Henry for that quote), by showing them in the Mass Transit Statute and the Counties Code, where all monies left over from the dissolution of East Central Illinois Mass Transit went to the County(s), and not to RIDES Mass Transit. This netted Edgar County in excess of $152,000.00 into its general fund. Yes, we are still fighting against RIDES, but they have no legal authority to stand on. Why not publicly acknowledge that, Dan?
  • 3% pay raise for employeesanother good thing, but they might have gotten more if the board members weren’t pocketing monies they shouldn’t be
  • Kept the increase in health insurance to less than 10%. Some might say this is good, but the issue here is whether that insurance should have been bid out as state law requires, and whether the county board members should continue to participate in the health insurance in violation of law
  • Saved $20k on workman’s comp insurance might be good, however, they violated state law by not placing it out for bid, which may had achieved an even greater savings. To repeat: the county board violated state law in this insurance purchase. We do not allege this, we know this.
  • Made some building repairs. Fine, they needed it.
  • Highway Department kept the roads and bridges in good shape. Fine, that is their job.
  • Made airport improvementslet’s not mention lying on grant applications, or keeping an employee that lied on his job application. Let’s also not mention the former airport board member that resigned when I started questioning his residency.
  • Re-established a good working relationship with the ETSB. Not much of an accomplishment there, since the ONLY problem was Crippes’ inability to work with a Sheriff she didn’t like. Now that her cousin is the Sheriff, and she continues to get her way in everything, of course there will be good relations. With a ETSB board that rubber stamps all the previous crimes committed by her, and knowing her cousin, the Sheriff, would never investigate any wrongdoings involving her, why wouldn’t there by “good relations” with the board now? And lets not forget, this is the same ETSB chaired by Troy Eades who called the county board idiots.
  • Stated the ECSSAA (ambulance service) provided great service. – Don’t mention the board tried to take their contract away by attempting to violate a previous contract, and are still thinking of ways to reduce the tax levy to make it more costly on the ECSSAA. Once again, through our assailing of the board members, we pointed out that the way the board was going about bidding the contract actually violated the contract. This led to the contract be extended automatically through the provisions of the existing contract.
  • Completed new deputy contractWOW. Something that has to be done, finally got done.

Of those ten points above, only two were actually good results of the county board. The old debt payments, and the employee pay raise.

In their editorial, the PP stated that County Board members (and others) are “essentially an unpaid position”. What rock have they been hiding under?

The county board gets $1200.00 per year, $25.00 per meeting, plus mileage according to their resolution setting their pay. Additionally, they have been taking money unlawfully to the tune of over $450.00 per month, in some cases, to pay for their own health insurance. Bruner himself had been taking $310.00 per month for Medicare reimbursement payments without authority to get reimbursed. So to say it is “essentially unpaid” is factually wrong.

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1 Comment
  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 06:45h, 24 January

    Brunner’s comments re: building improvements…supposing we’re talking about the $40k + spent on the leaking court house roof and the boiler flue that was leaking carbon monoxide into the court house attic. Obviously things needed long before they were accomplished.

    If so, those repairs were paid for by the airport income fund…sometimes referred to the “farm fund”. But there’s a problem. All income generated at the airport is required by agreement between the County, the FAA and IDOA to be spent on the airport. This agreement references the FAA grant assurances……………

    Grant assurances are promises made in exchange for federal dollars for things like runway extensions, cross wind runways, property acquisitions and other things: all worth millions and millions of dollars.

    Add to this…Edgar County Airport “projects” and monies this county has already received, are known to be in violation of Illinois State Airport Laws under which this airport was created. Each expansion that occurred and that will occur requires County Zoning. That’s the Law. Every time this board has voted for airport projects they are voting for County Zoning.
    These projects were either voted on by existing county board members or supported by same to include Brunner, Voigt, Farnham and Heltsley (Even the halted fraudulent project cancelled by the FAA was supported by our county board).

    Now back to the chase. As always, when you’re caught transferring monies to places where you shouldn’t there is some sort of excuse. This one appears to justify the violation of “grant assurances” ….by claiming the county’s operating budget for the airport of “$80K”…….. (one that was voted on by our county board)…….was and is actually a “loan” from the Edgar County Taxpayers…and therefore…..income accumulated from farm land lease should be used to pay back this borrowed amount.

    If this smoke belching cement truck with Gary Henry at the wheel sprouts wings and actually flies, then stand by for next year to see if airport’s $60K in income funds are used to pay back the airports “$80K loan from the taxpayers” or if it’s used to fund the next illegal, fraudulent project.