Although Tazewell County Auditor Shelly Hranka was defeated in March’s Republican Party primary election and was not present at Wednesday’s Tazewell County Board meeting, she remained an object of criticism for at least some board members.
When County Board Chairman David Zimmerman asked for input from elected officials at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting, Vice Chairman Timothy Neuhauser rose to deliver a complaint about Hranka’s handling of the purchase of Abila MIP financial software from the company Zobrio. Providing a timeline, Neuhauser noted that the acquisition of new financial software was established as a priority in 2017. He added that Hranka had statutory authority to evaluate proposals from software vendors and recommend them for purchase.
"Last week, at our monthly finance meeting, I had to regrettably inform our finance committee that the … software we purchased over a year ago is not operational or implemented," said Neuhauser. "We will not be able utilize this very important resource when we begin our budget meetings next month. In fact, the software will most likely not be operational until (Dec. 1) at the earliest. Needless to say, I’m extremely frustrated and disappointed that, after we as a board unanimously approved and supported this project, we do not have a usable product."
County Board member Russ Crawford echoed Neuhauser’s disappointment that the new financial software is not operational, and added a call for accountability and transparency.
"The people of Tazewell County, the taxpayers, need and deserve an explanation as to how this happened, and why it happened," said Crawford.
Hranka was elected auditor in 2016, and has been in a dispute with the board for much of her term over funding for her office. That dispute had grown to include a lawsuit against the board, as well as a secondary suit about some reimbursements. Hranka filed the complaints in June 2018, and the board voted to approve a settlement agreement with her in May.
The board on Wednesday also unanimously approved the appointment of Joseph K. Roberts to the County Board. He was subsequently sworn in by Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman. Roberts will fill a vacancy for District 3 that was created by last month’s resignation of Mary Jo Holford.
In other business, the board:
- Approved an agreement with Altorfer Inc., for lease of a 2019 CAT 950 GC Wheel Loader for $1,600 a month for 36 months
- Voted to reappoint and to approve a new six-year contract for County Engineer Craig Fink.
- Approved a replacement hire for the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department.