Winnebago County Board appoints interim county administrator

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — After months of controversy over who had the power to appoint the next county administrator, former county administrator Steve Chapman was appointed in an interim-capacity.

Before Chapman could be appointed, the board had to re-vote on an ordinance members had previously passed that gave them the authority to hire and fire the county administrator, not the chairman. Chairman Frank Haney asked the board to reconsider its earlier vote, so the ordinance was brought to the table once again. The board ultimately voted to retain its authority over the county administrator, which then led to the appointment of Steve Chapman.

Chapman’s selection was one area where everyone agreed.

“Tonight, the board appointed Steve Chapman to be the interim county administrator and Steve has many decades of experience with the county,” Chairman Haney said.

“No one knows the ins and outs of the county better than he does,” board member Jean Crosby added.

“There’s no one, absolutely, positively no one, in Winnebago County that is better suited than Steve Chapman,” board member Jim Webster said.

Since current county administrator, Carla Paschal, is now staying until the end of August, Chapman will replace her beginning September 1.

“He served as the county administrator before I became chairman and my only concern is if he’s limited by how many hours [he can work] per week,” Haney said.

Because Chapman is retired, and collecting a pension, he can only work 600 hours before the state takes that pension away. Board member Jim Webster was not worried about that though.

“This doesn’t mean he’s going to put in 40 hours a week,” Webster said.

But Chairman Haney disagrees.

“I think this is a grinder of a job as county administrator, it’s more in excess of 40 hours a week typically,” Haney said.

But Haney says he’s worried Chapman could hit that 600 hour threshold before a budget is decided. The new fiscal year begins October 1 and the board has yet to produce a budget without a deficit.

“The Board has some very hard discussions in the next couple weeks,” Haney said.

Currently, there’s a search underway for a permanent county administrator, and board members hope they can find someone before the fiscal year ends. They presently have the power to appoint, after taking that power from Chairman Haney.

The board will use the Illinois City and County Management Association to find the next permanent county administrator.

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