PECATONICA – On Tuesday night, Aug. 4, the Village of Pecatonica held a special meeting to discuss a benefits package review for Police Chief Bob Smith.

The issue was to be discussed at a prior meeting, according to previous reports, but the Tuesday, July 21 meeting could not be held due to a reduced number of Village Trustees in attendance.

The vacation adjustment issue was to be discussed along with a possible question on a veto override in relation to Village Clerk Cara Warkentien’s annual salary.

The July 21 meeting never occurred leading to the need for the special meeting of qualified Trustees and Village President Dan Barber on Tuesday night. The issue regarding the salary of the Village Clerk was not included on the Special Meeting agenda.

On the agenda, an issue approving a requested additional 40 hours of paid vacation for Pecatonica Police Chief Bob Smith, who according to previous reports, was overlooked in a previous payroll cycle adjustment was approved.

Village President Dan Barber said it was a thoughtful move, actually by the Police Chief himself.

“Since I got elected to the Board, one of the things I wanted to do was have the Trustees consider a change in policy. The Village President, looking at the budget, determined the salary for the various positions such as the Village Clerk. When we had a review of salaries, I was contacted by the Police Chief and he asked us to consider a different adjustment, rather than the pay increase. He knew we didn’t have a lot of extra money to work with, so he asked us to consider giving him an extra week of vacation, two years earlier, instead. We did that, it was a unanimous vote.”

The reason the issue was not on the previous agenda was a simple clerical oversight, Barber explained.

“We went to Executive Session to discuss salaries. We voted in Executive Session and then came back to the Board to approve. We had the Ordinances written up by Village Clerk. So we took care of that. The Chief had written a letter explaining his decision to get the extra vacation sooner, rather than worry about a pay increase, but that never made it on the agenda, it was an oversight. We brought the other requests in front of the Board.”

In other action, a step was approved that will allow the Village of Pecatonica access to Federal Emergency Funds, in the event of some sort of disaster or major situation.

There is a procedure that has to be followed in order for communities to get the assistance they need, when they need it, as the Village President explained.

“We approved a resolution adopting the Winnebago County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. We joined other communities like Cherry Valley and Winnebago. I can’t say how many communities are in this. We knew if we didn’t join, we wouldn’t qualify for Federal assistance, we would not even be considered.”

The measure would allow for the release of dollars for the purpose of sustaining or supporting a community following a situation such as a tornado, flood or snowstorm, when a disaster situation becomes identified.

Village officials held a special Public Hearing for Pecatonica residents on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the Village Hall. The presentation was held to allow residents the opportunity to stay informed on recent documentation interpretation in relation to a possible water rate increase for Village residents.

Due to press schedule time conflicts, reaction from the public hearing over a possible rate adjustment for water services was not available to report.

The Gazette Newspaper will follow this story in upcoming editions.

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