ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
JACKSON COUNTY — The Jackson County Board is considering the possibility of creating a high-level administrative position to oversee the county’s daily operations and other responsibilities.
Jackson County Board Chairman John Rendleman said board members began contemplating creating the new role three or four years ago, but the idea, “was certainly not embraced by the rest of the courthouse,” due to the additional expense.
“The reason that there’s opposition to it is nobody wants their budget hit,” Rendleman said.
Rendleman said competitive salary and insurance benefits for the position would cost the county $90,000 or more annually.
According to the U.S. Census’ 2014 estimates, the median income in Jackson County was $32,681 and more than 30 percent of county residents lived below the poverty line. The county has a population of roughly 60,000 people, per the 2010 Census.
Most constituents Rendleman said he has spoken with understand the need for a new county administrator and support the board creating the position.
“A professional board administrator would take care of certain functions that are being done by several other offices — payroll, for example,” Rendleman said.
At one point, board members chose to create a committee coordinator position – a staffer who would serve the board committees – but some vital issues still didn’t receive as much attention as they needed, Rendleman said.
Creating the administrator position would help the board keep up with legislation when it is passed to better meet the needs of constituents, he added.
“Policy issues, too, that don’t perhaps get adequate consideration,” Rendleman said. “Board members do not have…generally do not have the expertise to identify those issues and talk about them.”
Rendleman said the county recently adopted a waste-hauling policy that was put together by the Health Department.
“Had we had an opportunity or perhaps a professional to look through the document, the policy issue of whether waste haulers in the county should be required to offer recycling to residential property; that issue was not addressed,” Rendleman said.
Jackson County currently employs two staff members, according to the Southern Illinoisan.