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Channahon loses more administrative staff

CHANNAHON – Trustees in Channahon will begin yet another search for a finance director – the second in as many months – as recently hired Erik Bush resigned because of medical reasons.

Bush, former McClain County Unit 5 School District Business Manager and the village of Hampshire’s village administrator, was approved June 17 for the Channahon position, began the following week, and resigned less than two weeks later.

The village’s assistant finance director, Marilyn Clark, also just resigned.

With a new Channahon Village Administrator, Thomas Durkin, to begin next week, Village President Joe Cook said at Monday’s Village Board meeting the board decided to wait on searching for replacements for the finance department positions until Durkin has a chance to settle in and help with the appointments.

Until then, trustees approved hiring Theobald Associates certified public accountants and consultants to provide interim financial director assistance to the village. For a fee of $150 an hour, Theobald staff members will work three days a week, five hours a day as needed.

The village has had a large turnover of senior-level administrators this summer, with Finance Director Bob Guess and Village Administrator Joe Pena retiring, and Director of Community Development Mike McMahon resigning.

After the meeting, Cook said such turnover is rare for the village, and services and attention to financial matters have not and will not suffer during the personnel transitions.

“It’s a very different position for the village to be in to lose all that empirical knowledge and history at once,” he said. “It’s tough to lose people, but as tough as it can be, it opens up opportunities for new and fresh ideas, and we’re excited about the prospects.”

Trustees also heard Monday concerns about the village being able to purchase enough road salt to get through next winter without paying exorbitant prices.

Public Works Director Ed Dolezal said Channahon, along with several other Illinois municipalities, was not able to procure rock salt through the bidding process with the state’s Central Management Services. The state offers municipalities opportunities to purchase such through its bulk purchasing power, but this year there were no bidders on the salt contracts.

The state will seek new bids on contract, Dolezal said, but it needs to know Channahon’s needs by the end of the week. There are other salt suppliers out there, he added, but the price might be higher than contracting with the state.

Channahon still has 700 tons of salt in storage and Dolezal said New Lenox owes Channahon about 100 tons that it borrowed last year. Channahon is likely to need more than the combined 800 tons to get it through next winter, however.

The village used 1,650 tons of salt on intersections and roads this past winter; 764 tons in 2012; 703 tons in 2011 and 1,344 tons in 2010.

Trustees advised Dolezal to seek salt from the state again in order to try for the lowest cost, reducing the amount requested from 1,800 tons to 500 tons.

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