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Minutes of the Law & Justice Committee
October 21, 2013
6:30 p.m.

PRINTABLE DOCUMENT w/attachments (.pdf)

 

 

Note: These minutes are not official until approved by the Law and Justice
Committee at a subsequent meeting. Please refer to the meeting minutes
when these minutes are approved to obtain any changes to these minutes.

 

 

The Law and Justice Committee of the DeKalb County Board met on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in the DeKalb County Administration Building's Conference Room East.


Chairman Julia Fullerton called the meeting to order. Members present were Anthony Cvek, John Frieders, Riley Oncken, Ruth Anne Tobias, Anita Turner and Derek Tyson. Others present were Pete Stefan, Stephen Reid, Thomas McCulloch, Robert Carlson, Robbin Stuckert, Maureen Josh, Andrew Sullivan, Roger Scott, Joyce Klein, Gary Dumdie, Stephanie Klein, Richard Schmack, Sheri Wigant, Janie Torma and Pat McMahon.


APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA
Chairman Fullerton requested to move agenda item #6(c) to #4 and renumber the followed items sequentially. All Committee Members agreed.


Moved by Mrs. Turner, seconded by Mr. Frieders and it was carried unanimously to approve the amended agenda.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Moved by Mr. Frieders, seconded by Mr. Tyson and it was carried unanimously to approve the minutes from September 16, 2013.


FY2014 BUDGET APPEAL -- ADDITIONAL COSTS FOR BAILIFFS
Mr. Frieders had made an appeal to not provide an additional half-time bailiff position at this time in order to provide savings to the fund balance to conserve the contingency funds.


Presiding Judge, Robbin Stuckert, spoke on behalf of her request for additional costs for bailiffs in the courthouse. She shared that last year when DeKalb County was moved into the 23rd circuit they acquired a sixth judge. They have been working with the same amount of bailiffs for a number of years even with the addition of an additional judge. Judge Stuckert added that these are part-time positions so adding a sixth Judge has made scheduling more difficult.


Mrs. Tobias asked if hours would be reallocated between the bailiffs. Judge Stuckert answered that yes they will be working on scheduling to keep the bailiff's hours under the requirements for a part-time position in order not to have to pay into IMRF. Judge Stuckert also shared that in 2015 that courthouse will be looking into adding an additional seventh Judge and again to work with the number of bailiffs they have now would be quite difficult.


Mr. Frieders asked if the $20,000 would cover all of the costs for the additional part-time bailiff. Judge Stuckert answered that they would schedule accordingly to be able to utilize that amount. After further discussion on the further direction of the courthouse and additional judges Mr. Frieders withdrew his appeal.


PUBLIC DEFENDER'S REPORT -- MR. THOMAS McCULLOCH
Mr. McCulloch, DeKalb County Public Defender, explained that the office has been continuing with about the same caseload but backing up slightly. He also shared that his office is happy with their budget. There were no other questions for Mr. McCulloch and the Committee thanked him for his report.


COURT SERVICES AUGUST REPORTS -- MS. MARGI GILMOUR
Ms. Margi Gilmour, Director of the Adult and Juvenile Court Services Department, shared with the Committee that they had an additional juvenile placed into residential placement in September, which means now they have two.


Ms. Gilmour also brought forth to the committee an intergovernmental agreement with Kane County and a Resolution authorizing the intergovernmental for the provision of multi-systemic therapy to juveniles and their families. She explained that this dates back from a 2010 agreement that DeKalb County had with Kane but now has been updated. One Hope United has been awarded the RFP for a second time. Although costs have gone up a bit the essential treatments have remained the same, Ms. Gilmour explained. She continued that she felt this was a very effective program for their youth and one of the main goals is to keep juveniles out of residential placement.


It was moved by Mr. Cvek, seconded by Mr. Oncken, and it was carried unanimously to send the Resolution to the full board for approval.


The last item Ms. Gilmour shared was the DeKalb County Juvenile Justice Council 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, which is an attachment to these minutes.


FY2014 BUDGET APPEALS APPLICABLE TO LAW & JUSTICE COMMITTEE
The first appeal addressed was one made by Mr. Cvek for Court Security Subsidy from General Fund. He shared that he wanted to discuss with the Sheriff a little background on the program and what the plan is for the future in Court Security. Sheriff Scott explained that they have had the Court Security Programs since around 1993 and that they do pride themselves in the professional model that they have and they do have full-time Deputies on duty there but supplemented by three part-time not sworn people. This fund has generally been funded by court security fees through the court system but that has not been raised since 2003 but that fee can only be raised by the Legislature. Sheriff Scott reiterated that he is proud of the way the program is run and he understands that there are cheaper ways to do it but he does not approve of those ways and would not hold up under scrutiny for professional court security which is critical.

 

Mr. Cvek addressed that he realizes that Legislature takes time and asked Sheriff Scott if in the interim he sees any ways to better utilize scheduling or being able to send someone home if not needed. The Sherriff answered that these are employees that are entitled to forty hours of work and sending them home would not be an appropriate thing to do and when they are not working security they do patrol the courthouse. Sheriff Scott invited Lt. Klein to provide some information that she had gathered from other Counties in the area. She gave a comparison of Kendall County Courthouse which is also in the 23rd circuit like DeKalb County and in compared to them, DeKalb County Courthouse is well under what they have staffed. Lt. Klein continued that as far as staffing they are as efficient as they can get with their full-time Deputies working all day and the part-time civilian officers working at only the peak times. She also provided that the Sheriff's Deputies do numerous duties in the courthouse like warrant arrests and serve order of protections. Replacing those deputies with part-time help is not practical or cost effective and the Sheriff agreed that hiring part-time help is problematic and cutting back on security is never a good idea. Mr. Cvek withdrew his appeal.


The next appeal was for New Patrol Officer for Traffic Enforcement. Mr. Cvek, Mr. Foster and Mr. Frieders all made appeals to not fill this position. Mr. Cvek asked the Sheriff to just speak on the funding aspect for this position. Sheriff Scott explained that he identified revenue to help pay for this position through drug forfeiture funds which he can legally do as specified in the guidelines. The Sheriff explained that he would commit to putting up $45,000 in drug forfeiture funds and figured with the addition of the one new patrol office that would generate at a minimum about $20,000 that will come back to the General Fund one way or another.
Mr. Cvek announced that the County is in a position that they are spending down their reserves and years to come don't look very good either and he asked Sheriff Scott if he is willing to make a commitment in perpetuity to continue to pay $45,000 out of the drug forfeiture fund for this position. The Sheriff stated that he is willing to commit to that amount and he is confident that the drug enforcement officers will continue to work hard to contribute to that fund, although they certainly do not do it for the money.
Mr. Frieders explained that he is just having a really hard time adding new positions or additional hours when they should be conserving the contingency funds. The Sheriff agreed with Mr. Frieders and added that is why he proposed funding all but 25% of the position but there is also a need for this position.


After further discussion proposing different types of funding and suggestions for this new patrol officer position, Mr. Cvek withdrew his appeal. Mr. Frieders made a motion to accept his appeal to not fill the new patrol officer position. There was no second to his motion so the appeal failed.


The next appeal for the Sheriff's Office is from Mr. Cvek to create a separate fund under the direct supervision of the County Board to hold and distribute detention space funds as verified invoices are submitted to ensure that any savings are retained for future detention space needs. Mr. Cvek also explained that with the jail expansion so far out and with the jail still outsourcing, his thought was with the savings of pre-trail implementations there would be a significant amount of money to start a new line item so that the money can be rolled over and stay in that fund for only outsourcing instead of going into the general fund. The Sheriff answered that they handle all of the transports, scheduling complications and billing of housing inmates elsewhere so he feels that it should stay in the Sheriff's budget because he is the one that has to pay and submit the bills. Further discussion was had among the committee members and Sheriff Scott and ultimately Mr. Cvek withdrew his appeal.


Richard Schmack, DeKalb County State's Attorney, joined the committee to discuss the next two appeals that effect his department. Mr. Schmack continued that he requested two positions one of which was an Attorney Level I and an additional Legal Secretary B. Staff had commented that he made a compelling case for the Secretary B position but they denied it and in order to have the Level I Attorney, the salary and pension cost of the Chief Civil Attorney will be shifted to the Tort & Liability Insurance Fund. Mr. Cvek, Mr. Foster and Mr. Frieders appealed to deny the Level I Attorney position. Mr. Schmack gave an overview of what all of his Attorneys current are working on and the expectation of possibly adding more courtrooms in the future he feels there is a definite need for at least one other Attorney to help with the case loads.


Mr. Cvek stated that the Public Defender provides a monthly case load per individual and asked Mr. Schmack if he had any reports showing case load distribution among the Attorneys in his department. Maureen Josh helped explain the case load and the courtroom traffic. Mr. Frieders asked Mr. Schmack to explain why he is unable to make do with the Attorneys he has now. Mr. Schmack explained but ultimately stated that most of their expenses are staff and they do not have the staff to do the job the right way in order to staff seven courtrooms in 2015 with the same number of people they are staffing five with.


Mr. Frieders moved to accept his appeal to deny the Level I Attorney position for the State's Attorney's Office. There was no second to the motion so it failed. After further clarification on the Tort Fund and expenditures, Mr. Cvek withdrew his appeal.
Mr. Schmack proposed his appeal for being denied a new full-time Secretary B position in his department. He explained that there hasn't been an added secretarial position in the department for about a decade and since that time they have gone from four courtrooms to six and four or five assistances have been added since then as well. He continued that the Civil Division has no secretarial support and Ms. Klein reiterated that point as well. Chairman Fullerton asked if NIU students can be utilized at all for assistance in the office. Mr. Schmack stated that they do have interns but the problem is they are supposed to be given real world experience in their internship and not spend most of the time just filing. He also stated that in his appeal he gave alternative suggestions like three part-time secretaries but he would rather have one full-time.


Mr. Oncken said that there is a $100,000 contribution coming out of the Tort & Liability Fund but only funding $73,000 so he asked if the remaining $27,000 was just a generous contribution. Mr. Stefan answered that it was to cover some of the other support services but it is part of the General Fund balance so the $900,000 deficit would be $927,000 if those funds would be allocated elsewhere.
Mr. Oncken moved to allocated $27,000 to hire two part-time Secretary B positions in the State's Attorney's Office. Mr. Tyson seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken and those voting yea were Mr. Oncken, Mrs. Tobias, Mrs. Turner, Mr. Tyson and Chairman Fullerton. Mr. Cvek and Mr. Frieders opposed. The motion carried.


Mr. Frieders withdrew his appeal to not hire two new Pre-Trial Officers.


The last appeal addressed was from Janie Torma regarding the Children's Waiting Room in the DeKalb County Courthouse. She presented the committee with the Illinois Legislation which gave an overview of how the Children's Waiting Room is funded, which is $5.00 per civil case that is filed and she feels that that amount is not enough to properly keep the room running adequately. Also provided was a schedule of how many children are present in the waiting room throughout a year. Ms. Torma explained what the room provides for children, their staffing, scheduling and mission to the committee as well.


Mr. Cvek stated that he understood the nature of what the Children's Waiting Room does but unfortunately they are at the mercy of the $5.00 per civil case funding source and suggested that they possibly try to go to the DeKalb County Community Foundation and seeing if they can set up a fund for tax deductible means of donations for the waiting room. Mrs. Tobias agreed that that was a good idea but that the waiting room is in need of funding now. Mrs. Turner suggested maybe cutting Monday from their hours to be able to save some funding.
Mrs. Tobias moved to approve Ms. Torma's appeal to reinstate $12,000 in funding to the Children's Waiting Room and Mr. Tyson seconded the motion. A roll call vote was requested. Those voting yea were Mrs. Tobias and Mr. Tyson. Those voting nay were Mr. Cvek, Mr. Frieders, Mr. Oncken, Mrs. Turner and Chairman Fullerton. The motion failed.


BUDGET REVIEW FOR DEPARTMENTS REPORTING TO THE LAW & JUSTICE COMMITTEE
The committee had no other topics for discussion under the FY2014 Budget.


ADJOURNMENT
It was moved by Mr. Cvek, seconded by Mr. Oncken, and it was carried unanimously to adjourn the meeting.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

________________________________
Chairman Julia Fullerton

 

 

_______________________________
Tasha Stogsdill, Recording Secretary