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McIntyre: Advisory Search Panel Modeled After Nursing Home

McLean County Board
Ralph Weisheit
McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre said a blue ribbon panel formed to help the county-run nursing home established a blueprint for how the county would search for a new administrator.

McLean County Board chairman John McIntyre said Tuesday his idea for creating a blue ribbon advisory panel to assist in its search for a new county administrator is modeled after a similar volunteer board he created last year to help the county save its nursing home from financial ruin.
“Let’s take a look at having another blue ribbon committee because the one we’ve had for the nursing home has been so successful, let’s do it again,” McIntyre said.

The McLean County Nursing Home in Normal implemented a number of recommendations that its administrator Cindy Wegner said have improved the facility’s finances.

County Board member Laurie Wollrab had called for the county to hire a consultant to lead the administrator search, but she said considers this a fair alternative.

“I feel much more confident about this than I had before (McIntyre) put the blue ribbon panel in place,” Wollrab said.

Current County Administrator Bill Wasson is retiring in June.

“I asked people from various organizations in town who I felt were people and corporations and stakeholders we deal with to get together and help us,” McIntyre said.

Former county administrator John Zeunik is leading the seven-member panel. McIntyre said none of the panel members will be paid, but the county will offer to reimburse Zeunik for his travel to and from Naperville.

McIntyre said the panel will rank finalists for the county's search committee, which will make its own recommendation to the County Board.

McIntyre said because of some changes to the job description language, its posting has been delayed until Wednesday, so the county has delayed the application deadline to March 1.

McIntyre said the county had hoped to have a finalist chosen by May, but that might also be in jeopardy.

He added if the county isn’t satisfied with the quantity or quality of applicants, it can still seek the services of hiring consultant and possibly expand the search. He said the county has explored the costs and it figures to be in the $15,000-$20,000 range.

New Meeting Time

The County Board’s first meeting after its monthly meeting times were moved to the evening lasted all of 12 minutes, with little major business.

The board on Tuesday approved four new solar farm proposals, in Bloomington and Dale townships and two near Gridley. That brings to 18 the number of solar farm projects the county has approved. Each is awaiting the state to determine which applications will win a lottery to receive renewable energy credits from the state, so it’s still not clear which, if any, of the projects will happen.

The board also adopted its annual list of legislative priorities that it plans to lobby Illinois lawmakers. The plan calls for the state to pass a capital bill to help repair roads and bridges, or allow counties to adopt their own motor fuel taxes to pay for infrastructure, such as municipalities like Bloomington and Normal.

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Eric Stock is a reporter at WGLT.