Media representative JC Tinsley had questions for the board on Tuesday morning, one which concerned a report of the courthouse server being hacked and someone accessing courthouse files from home. Treasurer Pam Armstrong and the board all said they knew nothing about any hacking. The Treasurer had requested secure access when she was off work due to an injury so she could work from home. Tinsley asked if Homeland Security and the Board of Elections had to be contacted, as he had heard. “That was not true either,” Armstrong and the board answered. Tinsley asked about online financial statements and that he had spoken to the Treasurer about that, to which Armstrong stated,”The statements are in Beth’s office at the end of every month. They can be seen there.”
Tinsley asked about policies and procedures for the Animal Control department. Board member Ken Usery responded that they did not know of any county policies and that the county relied on the state regulations. Tinsley also requested an accounting of money which had been donated to provide air conditioning at the dog shelter. Again, Usery responded, saying “Wayne (Spicer) was to cut a hole in the wall for the air conditioner and not use a window for it. He didn’t do that and used one of the windows, then took the other window out and put plexiglass over it. Sewer gas backing up was hazardous, so nothing is sealed right now. A window needs to be built and we are waiting on the window.” The Treasurer assured Tinsley the $800 was in a separate account. Concern was expressed for the dogs, with 90 degree temperatures anticipated this week and no air conditioning available for them.
The meeting convened on Tuesday at 9 a.m. with roll call and the Pledge of Allegiance. All five board members were in attendance. The minutes from August were given approval and the bills were approved for payment.
Due to unspecified reasons for the delay, Treasurer Pam Armstrong assured the board and those assembled at the meeting that tax bills would be going out the first or second week of October. Payments will then be due November 15 and January 15, 2020.
“Superintendent Lee said the schools would be fine, even with payments coming late.” Armstrong stated. She said the office had cut off taking early payments now that the tax payment season will be starting.
Ambulance Director Adam Allen reported the ambulance had been busy and had earned just over $26,000 for the month of August. The final payment on the hydraulic cots is due and that payment is $36,000.
Sheriff Doug Maier handed out his report. The White County jail housed 70 inmates in August, with 19 from White County and 51 out of county. The Jail recorded revenues of $81,985.75. The Sheriff’s office had 352 calls for service in August and White County Dispatch handled 1297 calls for service for the month.
County Engineer Brian Ray had nothing to report. Coroner Chris Marsh had given his report in writing to the board and he praised the work of the Ambulance Service for always being available for many tasks, including extricating people from car wrecks.
News media representative Kathy Sands queried the board about a recreational marijuana ordinance. Chairman Puckett responded that would be on the October agenda. When asked if the county was leaning toward regulation of or a ban on growing, sales, and distribution of the plant, Puckett responded that decision had not been made yet. He stated that States Attorney Denton Aud was not in attendance as he was in Springfield for a hearing at the Ill. Supreme Court, but that Aud was looking in to the matter.
The board gave its approval to the fiscal year 2020 holiday calendar.
Executive Director Pamela Barbee with the Southern Illinois Workforce Investment Board gave the board information about the Southern 14 Workforce.
Brian Tomm, chairman of the White County Soil and Water Conservation District was on hand to thank the board for their continued support of the district. The board approved a contribution of $2500 to that entity.
Skip Oliver and Chris Maynard of Shepard Insurance address the board about a health insurance plan and liability insurance for the county. The Hope Trust insurance is not living up to county employees’ expectations.
A tentative and preliminary budget was brought forward for the fiscal year 2020. No executive session was called. The next meeting will be on October 8, 2019 at 7 p.m.
A motion to recess until November 12, 2019 for the purpose of acting on the budget and tax levy was approved by all.
The meeting adjourned at 9:32 a.m.
Addendum: The following is a statement from White County Treasurer Pam Armstrong from her July 2019 Treasurer's report which did not get posted to the public. The statement clarifies the security issues questioned above at the time she was recovering from an injury this summer.
"As the White County Treasurer, I have the obligation to authorize any technology installed and used to make my job responsibilities more efficient and accessible. Technology today allows us to safely and remotely connect to our work computers from portable laptops.
After my accident this spring, Luke Groover with Kemper Technologies set up a secure VPN connection on my home laptop so I could work from home. The VPN connection is encrypted and the information I am accessing is on the courthouse server. The information never leaves the courthouse. My computer is password protected, has an active antivirus installed and running and I am the only authorized person to remotely access our system. Luke was confident that we have followed the proper protocol and this does not in anyway jeopardize the security of our records or data.
Please feel free to call our office at 382-8122 extension 3, Monday through Friday from 8 until 4 with any questions you might have."
Pam Armstrong, White County Treasurer