Shelby County Clerk Jessica Fox requested the that the County Board approve a contract change to accommodate more election cybersecurity.

The contract is with Consolidated Communications for an increase in internet speed from 10 mb to 30 mb for the Illinois Century Network Installation for the County Clerk’s office.

The State of Illinois has a Cyber Navigator Program.

The Illinois Century Network (ICN) is a high performance network built to meet the Internet and Intranet needs of educational, research, governmental and healthcare organizations.

The goal of the ICN portion of the Cyber Navigator Program is to provide internet connectivity through the ICN to each election authority in the state. It will serve as an alternative to existing internet service providers. Statewide participation in the ICN is the starting point for building protective services for the Illinois election infrastructure, officials said.

Traffic between the State Board of Elections and each election authority will never be exposed to the internet. However, accommodating Shelby County’s involvement requires a change in speed with Consolidated.

“Montgomery got a virus and it cost them $300,000,” Fox said. “All they did was click on a link. Moultrie County was hacked and had to replace everything. It shows how at risk we all are. We are sitting ducks without it.”

It will reportedly cost about $95 more a month. The Board approved the contract change.

In another matter, County Treasurer Erica Firnhaber asked for approval to make a $300,000 payment toward the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund deficit. New member Earl Baker asked how so much debt to IMRF had been accumulated.

“It happened before any of us were here,” replied Board Member Bruce Cannon. “A long-time siting judge retired and we hads to pay out a huge amount. The IMRF has been underfunded for 10 years or more.”

Firnhaber will be making $1,500 payments each month toward reducing that deficit.

“We have the funds, we should just pay it,” said Board Member Frank Mulholland.”

The payment was approved unanimously.

A change was made in the Sheriff’s Dept. uniform fund for full-time employees. Instead of using a quartermaster system, they want to go back to a once a year $750 clothing allowance (after taxes) per employee. It amounts to about $20,250 in those checks and each employee then is responsible for using it for uniform upkeep and replacement. The board approved the change.

A new Porbation Department employee will be hired. The state has authorized to pay the salary of a Pre-Trial Probation Officer. The State will pay the salary, about $19,000 and County will be responsible for the cost of setting up the office of the new position and to pay for the employee benefits, which will be about $18,700.

Aaron Burdick, the Probation CMO, said they received the funds because Shelby County is under-staffed and qualified for the funds. The two probation officer in Shelby County currently have almost 300 cases to administer.

The board approved the hire. The lone nay vote was Board Member Kenny Barr.

Public Buildings Chairman Dale Wetherell requested approval of a bid for a new generator for the courthouse. The recommended bid was from D&M Electrical for the purchase and installation of the generator. The bid is for $53,230. The warranty is 5 years.

The money is not a budgeted item, but Wetherell said there is $90,000 in the Courthouse Maintenance Fund and they would take the money out of there. Bruce cannon so moved with the money coming out of the maintenance fund.

The Board approved the bid with one nay vote, Kenny Barr.

Cannon announced that he is hoping the Shelby County Airport can get a federal variance or waiver for their runway clearance because it is costing the airport revenue from lost crop production. Cannon spoke the State Representative Brad Halbrook, who was in attendance, about that possibility.

Cannon said the airport has about $12,000 deficit every year with the loss of revenue from the 55 acres of farmland. Other options were discussed including selling the airport to a private company, paying the fine, changing the levy, etc.

Cannon is stepping down from the Airport Committee and new member Earl Baker was appointed to fill that spot.

County Engineer Alan Spesard announced a problem with the Cowden-Herrick Road work. he said the top inch and a half of the surface is brittle and cracking. Phase 2 (micro-surface coating) had been delayed because of high bids and now it has been suspended.

Spesard said the top layer of surface, which is about 18 years old, will have to be removed. They have to decide where the money will come from.

“I learned about it last week,” Speasrd said. “It won’t be fixed until next year at the earliest.”

He also reported that the bridge on the line between Ash grove Township and Big Spring Township is starting October 21. Work on the Bridge near Windsor was delayed but started October 10.

Discussion was had on changing the meeting times for the County Board. The recommendation from a committee was the 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.

Terry Metzger suggested that if the change is made that it be with the next term of board members so everyone who runs for office will know when the meetings will be. No action was taken.

John Curtis can be reached at

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