RICo Board votes to stop mileage payments and freeze salaries

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Some new policies are on the books for the Rock Island County board, including a salary freeze for the next four years.

The board is also finding another way to get the spending under control.

It was a back and fourth debate between Rock Island County board members over reimbursements paid out to board chairman Phil Banaszek.

State's Attorney John McGehee gave his recommendation on the issue.

"The mileage he was claiming as commuting was not something that was not authorized and allowed by the IRS," said McGehee about Banaszek.

Banaszek's been calculating his mileage for a seven-mile trip from his home to his office, and getting reimbursed by the county. That's okay according to the county policy, but only if he reports that income to the IRS.

"When we can say the county policy doesn't have the reinforcement or penalties, well, that means to me you don't have to abide by county policies," said board member Don Johnston.

The board agreed to stop paying for the chairman's commute all together, allowing reimbursements only for meetings and special business trips.

"It was determined that any kind of commuting from somebody's home to the administration building here is not going to be paid by the county," said Rock Island County Board member Don Johnston.

It's a step in the right direction for some board members, while others say there's plenty more places to be more transparent.

The board also went into closed session to talk about the way the county pays out for comp time. The issue came up after a county employee got a $20,000 dollar payout in addition to her salary. No decisions were made on that policy.

Related:  Rock Island County still waits, and pays, for a board that is not downsized