EDWARDSVILLE – The Madison County Board on Thursday appointed a new county administrator and director of information and technology at a special meeting called into legal question by board members.
County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler called Thursday's meeting at a re-organizational meeting Monday, Dec. 5. At that meeting, Prenzler allowed former board member Stephen Adler to preside because of Adler's familiarity with the board's procedures. But representatives of the Madison County State's Attorney's Office said Thursday that Adler had no authority to chair the meeting and the re-organizational meeting, at which newly elected board members were seated, would have to be reconvened.
“This meeting is not a legal meeting,” Edwardsville Democratic board member Jack Minner said.
But Prenzler, who cited a “critical situation” of not having a county administrator, said he believes Monday's meeting met legal requirements.
“I am confident, 100 percent, that that meeting was absolutely legal,” Prenzler said.
“Both of these positions are essential for the running of this county,” he said.
The appointment of Doug Hulme, who served as a deputy treasurer under Prenzler, passed 15-13, with board member James Futrell absent. Hulme's salary will be $120,000 per year.
Before the vote, board member Nick Petrillo, a Granite City Democrat, questioned Hulme's qualifications for the job. He said Hulme lacks a master's degree in public administration, although he does have a master of business administration degree.
“Does he have 7 years of experience that has anything to do with government?” Petrillo asked Prenzler.
Prenzler defended his pick for county administrator.
“I think Mr. Hulme has done an outstanding job as deputy treasurer,” he said. “In my opinion, Mr. Hulme is very qualified for this position.”
Granite City Democrat Arthur Asadorian called for a closed session to discuss the appointment for director of information and technology, Rob Dorman. After the closed session, the board reconvened and Granite City Democrat Michael Charles Parkinson made a motion that Dorman's hiring be contingent on a background check. After a discussion of the county's procedures for background checks involving members of the Madison County Sheriff's Department, including Sheriff John Lakin, Parkinson withdrew the motion.
With 4 votes against, the board approved Dorman's appointment to the position at an annual salary of $108,000.
Just before the meeting adjourned, board member Michael Walters, a Godfrey Republican, questioned his colleagues' motives in their opposition to the appointees.
“Mr. Prenzler has every right to appoint new people,” Walters said. “Everything that has happened since you've been sworn in has been, in my mind, pure politics.”
Parkinson responded that he was only seeking a transparent approach to governance.
“People that are put in public trust should be vetted,” he said.