Originally Posted Online: Dec. 03, 2012, 10:29 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 04, 2012, 12:22 am

Coin flip picks Mercer board chairman

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By Pam Berenger, pberenger@qconline.com

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Photo: Pam Berenger
Jeff McWhorter

ALEDO -- A coin flip Monday night determined that Jeff McWhorter will lead the Mercer County Board.

The coin toss came after four tied votes failed to earn a majority for either Mr. McWhorter, a District 1 Democrat, or fellow Democrat Dan Schroeder, from District 4. Mr. McWhorter's bid for chairman was backed by the four Republicans: Ted Pappas, George Howard, Fred Rooth and Brian Anseeuw.

Mr. Pappas, of District 3, received the lone nomination for vice-chairman after Bill Olson declined a nomination.

Because of redistricting, board members on Monday also drew lots for length of terms:

-- Drawing four-year terms were Mr. McWhorter; Gary Gregg, District 2; Mr. Pappas, Mr. Rooth, District 4; and Mr. Olson, District 5.

--Drawing two-year terms were George Howard, District 1; Mr. Anseeuw, Larry Stone, District 3; Daniel Schroeder, District 4; and Tom Haines, District 5.

The newly seated board on Monday discussed the potential for the county opting for a line of credit to meet operating costs while waiting for local tax, state and federal payments.

"The county can't operate like this," said Mr. Pappas, agreeing to discuss options with BankORION.

The night started out with a walk out by Mr. Anseeuw and Mr. Rooth who claimed the meeting of the old board violated state statute and the county's by-laws. Despite assurances by Mercer County State's Attorney Greg McHugh that the meeting was legal and the former board could meet to conduct business, the two men walked out, followed by Mr. Pappas and Mr. Howard.

While in session, the former board adopted next year's budget of $10,313,952, down $2,208,265 from $12,522,217. Mercer County Clerk Phyllis Bewley said some of the decrease is because of a lower countywide equalized assessed valuation and Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund obligations related to the sale of the Mercer County Nursing Home and hospital.

The levy will also decrease about $200,000, from $3,982,800 to $3,788,150.