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County Board Approves Numerous Public Safety Resolutions

By Stephanie Malench

The Madison County Board approved several appointments with some discussion before later passing two important public safety resolutions at its February 17 meeting.

Adam Walden was appointed as the replacement for Madison County Engineer Mark Gvillo who retired in November 2020 after much discussion. Jack Minner (D-Edwardsville) objected to the appointment because an employee with over 35 years experience was passed over. Matt King (D- East Alton) objected to the hiring  Walden because the County should be saving money through attrition since the current staff is able to handle the workload citing that Walden would be making over $120,000.

Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler replied that the $129,400 salary was selected based on a list from the Illinois Department of Transportation for engineers in counties of various sizes across the state, and at the time of his retirement, Gvillo was making $149,000, and therefore the County is saving money.

Other appointments approved included Michael Bold  to Director of the Madison County Facilities Management Department; Cedric Irby was appointed to a four year term replacing Paul Malcharek expiring December 31, 2024; Jon Walker was reappointed to a new six-year term on the Sheriff’s Merit Commission; Victor Valentine was appointed to complete the term of Tom McRae on the Madison County Park & Recreation Grant Commission until December 2022; Kenneth Mueller was reappointed to a new three-year term expiring September 4, 2023 with the County Ditch Drainage and Levee District; Linda Kunz was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Ryan Kneedler who can no longer serve as a trustee on the Collinsville Fire Protection District Board due to his election to the Madison County Board; David Dwight Darden was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Robert Whipkey, who is resigning from the Moro Fire Protection District.

The first resolution passed was in opposition to Illinois House Bill 3653. The 764 page bill was pushed through during the final hours of the 101st lame duck session “with only hours remaining in the session, without the ability to properly read and analyze the impact it would have on public safety”.

The resolution asks that “the Governor should consider that the Madison County State’s Attorney, Sheriff, and every Police Chief in Madison County (Democrats and Republicans) unanimously and publicly condemned the sudden release and passage of this bill…the Bill has many unfunded mandates which will affect the operations of Madison County government and local police departments”.

The resolution goes on to say “the Madison County Board supports oversight and transparency in all areas of the Government including the police, and therefore sees some positive ideas in HB3653, such as supporting body cameras for police which, while in need of a dedicated funding source, would increase oversight and the ability of our wonderful law enforcement professionals to do their job and discipline those few in their ranks who break the rules and abuse their power”.

The resolution was sent to the Governor’s offices and the offices of every Illinois State legislator whose districts overlap with any portion of Madison County.

The second resolution was developed after the murder of an unarmed Metrolink security guard at a transit station on January 31 and calls for residents of Madison County to use caution when traveling on the Metro Transit System including Metrolink. Madison County Board had previously passed a resolution in July of 2020 after the violent assault of a teenage girl on Metrolink after Bi-State signed a security agreement taking guns away from the security guards. The board is calling on the Bi-State Development Board to improve security by arming its security guards to reduce violent crimes.

Grants for environmental and energy efficiency projects were approved for several local governing bodies. Grants for $15,000 each were awarded to the City of Collinsville, City of Edwardsville,  Village of Maryville, and  Tri-Township Park District $8,390.

Green School Program Green Seed Environmental Grants were  awarded to the following schools: Dorris Intermediate School, Collinsville ($1,924); Summit Elementary School, Collinsville ($2,000); Highland Elementary School ($1,270); and Highland Middle School ($2,000).

A resolution authorizing the Madison County Community Development Department to apply for the 2021 annual Community Services Block Grant funds totaling $656,372.

The Madison County Employment & Training Department was granted approval to contract for Re-employment training services with Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville for electronic badge credentials in the fields of Lab Technician, Food Science Technician, and Chemical Technician.

The program will  cost $699,564.57 and be paid for with funds from the Illinois state Dislocated Worker Re-employment Grant. One hundred dislocated workers will be served in the program.

A three-year contract to purchase 53 Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged Laptops for the Sheriff’s Department was approved for $109,839.69 to be paid in three annual payments of $36,613.23 out of the Sheriff Capital Outlay Funds.

The board approved a resolution to reimburse the police departments of Alton, Bethalto, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Granite City, Highland, Madison, Pontoon Beach, Troy, Venice, Wood River, the Sheriff’s Department, and the SIUE police department for the six-month period from July 1, 2020-December 31, 2020 for the 911 Emergency Telephone System Board. The total reimbursement is $798,837 and will be paid out of the FY2021 Madison County 911 Emergency Telephone System Department Funds.

A supplement contract with Lochmueller Group of Troy (formerly Bernadin Lochmueller & Associates, Inc. of Maryville) was approved for additional engineering services totaling $526,737 to the Resolution passed by the County on June 19, 2013 for engineering services to relocate Lebanon Road over the CSX railroad in Collinsville Township.

The next scheduled meeting is set for March 17, 2021.

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