Apparently, Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman will not be allowed to forget the Tazewell County Board’s displeasure over pay raises he gave employees last December.


"I just want to bring that up at each meeting, so we keep it on the front burner," said Tazewell County Board Chairman David Zimmerman during the board’s monthly meeting Wednesday.


Zimmerman noted that the Tazewell County Clerk and Recorder of Deeds Office has spent an additional $104,000 to date in pay raises. He expressed concern that the raises may adversely impact the board’s position in labor contract discussions.


"It’s made negotiations much more difficult, when even within one unit, some people got 22% raises and some got 3%," he added.


The board censured Ackerman in February over the pay raises.


He has defended them, saying board members had ample opportunity to review his proposed spending, and that his employees are getting "fair pay now based on the level of work they perform" without increasing the cost to property-tax payers.


The board also voted Wednesday to accept a $667,000 bid from Stark Excavating Inc., to repair the superstructure on a bridge over the Mackinaw River. Stark’s was the lowest of three bids, but was about 5% over estimates, according to Greg Menold, the board’s Transportation Committee chairman.


"There are several things going on," said Menold. "One is the time of year and the weather. We want them to get started on this. Another is the capital bill and all the work that contractors already have."


The board unanimously voted to enter into an agreement for an assessment of the electrical system at the county courthouse in Pekin with the engineering and architecture firm Farnsworth Group. The cost of the Farnsworth’s services is $6,800. A resolution to approve an agreement with the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council for a public buildings architectural barriers removal project also passed by a unanimous vote.


In other business, the board approved


- Three replacement hires in Court Services and one at Animal Control; and


- An emergency declaration for county employee insurance premiums.