Winnebago County Board strips chairman of HR hiring, firing oversight

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX) — Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney will no longer have the power to hire and fire the county’s Human Resources Director.

The ordinance previously called for the county HR director to be recommended, appointed or dismissed by the county administrator, with the approval of the county board chairman.  That approval responsibility will now be handed to the county board.

While the a majority of the board voted the measure through, there are others who are hesitant.

“I don’t think that board members, regionally, district-wide elected board members should be getting involved in any personnel decisions at all,” says District 19 board member Dan Fellars. “I think that is a recipe for disaster, a recipe for lawsuits. This is just too small a region, too small a county too many people know each other, too many people are related to each other in one way or another. There’s a reason it all runs through the head of the county, the county chairman, so it’s all accountable to one person.”

“I think the county board on some of the ordinance changes, we’re in the right, but I think we’ve gone a little past where we should be,” says District 15 board member Burt Gerl.  “Before you know it the chairman will just be walking around with a pair of golden scissors and a flag that says “Go County”.”

Kim Ponder currently holds that position and recently came under fire from outgoing county administrator Carla Paschal.

On July 10, Paschal sent a memo to Chairman Frank Haney, and the board, outlining 10 reasons why she believes Ponder should be dismissed from her role.

On Tuesday, the Rockford Register Star reported Ponder has taken a one-month leave of absence, per doctors orders.

Any action on Ponder’s future cannot be taken until she returns from leave, according to the paper’s report.

This now marks the fourth time the county board has voted to shift power away from Haney.

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