Four months after the Tazewell County Board censured County Clerk John Ackerman for awarding controversial pay raises to his staff, board Chairman David Zimmerman referred to the issue as an "elephant in the room."


The board’s finance committee rejected a resolution to approve a transfer request for the clerk during Wednesday’s meeting. Ackerman had requested the transfer of $17,312 from contingency funds to the clerk’s print shop to help cover the cost of sending vote-by-mail applications to registered voters.


Zimmerman appeared to see the vote as an expression of committee’s continued displeasure with Ackerman’s decision early this year to award pay raises to his staff without consulting the board. The board censured Ackerman for the move in February.


"I think the board is frustrated that you're asking for $17,000 out of contingency when, without asking us, you spent a boatload of money," said Zimmerman.


The board also formally accepted the formal resignation of Board member Mary Jo Holford, effective immediately. Holford, 78, cited her age and a desire to spend more time with her family as reasons for her resignation.


"I’m getting older and I must spend more time with my grandchildren," said Holford. "They have a lot of activities they’re in, and my husband and I like to go to those."


The board also declared a vacancy for Holford’s seat. According to Zimmerman, Wednesday’s meeting started a 60-day clock for the board to find a replacement. Holford’s replacement must be a Republican who lives in Tazewell County District 3, which includes Fondulac, Washington, Deer Creek, Mackinaw, Little Mackinaw, Hittle and Boynton townships.


"I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Mary Jo," Zimmerman stated. "Her mother was the first woman to serve on the board so she is a legacy. Mary Jo’s kindness and willingness to listen to both sides of an issue stand out to me."


In other business:


- Resolutions to approve attorney fees settlements with the law firms Heyl Royster and Uphoff Law passed with unanimous board consent.


- A resolution to adopt an amended election judge list passed with unanimous approval.


- The board approved a replacement hire for the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department.