Monday, August 1, 2016

Health Department and non-profits at odds about financial responsibility of food permit fees




Health Department and non-profits at odds about financial responsibility of food permit fees

By Cameran Coy

Posted: Mon 5:46 PM, Aug 01, 2016  | 


BOONE COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) – The Boone County Health Department and local non-profits have been at odds since February about whether or not non-profits should pay for their food permit fees which allow the health department to educate and ensure those serving food are doing so safely.

Flickr / Sara Mohazzebi / CC BY-SA 2.0

The non-profits believe they should not have to pay for the permits since the only source of income they generate is the bare minimum to keep running and any extra money they make goes back into the community. The non-profits say if they start shelling out hundreds of dollars on top of what they already pay, some may just cease to exist. The health department argues that if the non-profits don’t pay the fees, taxpayers will end up paying the costs. The health department said last year the amount of permits handed out would have generated $22,000 and that money had to be covered by taxpayers.

"If you get to putting big fees on all these people, they probably will be discouraged from continuing on with their non-for-profit org. Not all of them, but some of them,” says Greg Kelm, Commander of VFW Post 1461.

"We have to pay the staff for being here and doing those inspections. And if we're not getting any money then it comes out of the tax levy," says Boone County Health Department administrator Cindy Frank.

The non-profits say that it’s ridiculous that the health department only averages two inspections a day, while the health department says that because they have two employees certified to do inspections, that two a day is doing good since one inspection is an all-day event from beginning to end and not just checking a few boxes.

The non-profits around Boone County said they are grateful that recently the health department has reached out to have a sit down and hear their concerns. Both groups say that no matter how it turns out, they are grateful that at least now they have a line of communication and look forward to working this out, as both groups realize the benefit each has on the community.

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Below is Commander Kelm’s words and comments regarding his public comment to the Health Department Board this afternoon.


Greg Kelm

5 hrs ·

I had 120 seconds (2 full minutes) to speak to the Boone County Health Board today (under public comment) and here is what I said:

Please remember, the Boone County Health Department out of 1.1 million dollar budget, use 88% for wages and benefits for 18 people. Mr. Hatfield was quoted in the Sunday paper saying not getting the fees from not for profits is a bottomless hole.

In my opinion Mr. Hatfield, the bottom less hole is an over staffed over paid health department that is now whining for more money from the not for profits. With a budget of over 1.1 million dollars for 18 people seems a bit excessive. Ms. Frank states all these events on weekends take time from the staff during the week. Well Ms. Frank, why don't you have people staffed on weekends with their days off during the week?

I received a freedom of information act request last Friday from the Boone County Health Department. Did you know by your records Monday through Friday you did not even average 2 full food inspections a day for 2015. That screams inefficiency at its highest level. I wonder how many people are paid to do these inspections? What else are these people really doing that are paid to do food inspections?

Ms. Frank always talks about food-borne illness outbreaks. Again, with another recent FOIA I asked for the last 5 documented outbreaks in Boone County. The health department could not site one.

Food is consumed by all residents in Boone County each and every day. The people that truly keep our food safe is the FDA with their inspections and tests.

Do we really need a 1.1 million dollar health department in Boone County to provide “cushy jobs” for 18 people?

Do we really even need a health department? Could we combine it with another county health department and have good results and maybe save taxper's dollars to get out the health department out of the red?

Do the people who work in our animal shelters let the animals starve and not receive water over the weekend, of course not.

Do our Police and Fire protection just work Monday through Friday? No they are there 24 hours a day 365 days a year and I must add they do an outstanding job.

They are there working weekends like the health department really should be doing, working weekends.

Today 4 board members at least listened to what was said today by myself and Marion Thornberry. In my opinion this “train-wreck” could be sorted out.

Mr. Kelm’s statement is from Facebook

Bergdahl's lawyers ask for charges to be dropped over Sen. McCain comments




Undated handout photo of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl© U.S. Army/AP Photo Undated handout photo of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Aug 1 (Reuters) - The legal team for U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl on Monday asked to have the charges against the former prisoner of war dismissed, arguing comments made by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain violated his due process rights.

Bergdahl, 30, is facing a court-martial with a potential life sentence on charges of desertion and endangerment of U.S. troops after he walked away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and became a Taliban prisoner for five years.

Defense attorneys argued in a motion filed on Monday that comments made by McCain and the committee's general counsel, Steve Barney, have unduly influenced his case. The filing quotes McCain as saying last October: "If it comes out that (Bergdahl has no punishment, we're going to have a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee."

"I am not prejudging, OK, but it is well known that in the searches for Bergdahl, after - we know now - he deserted, there are allegations that some American soldiers were killed or wounded, or at the very least put their lives in danger, searching for what is clearly a deserter," McCain added.

The statements, among others, defense attorneys argued, undermine the independence of the military proceeding and violate Bergdahl's rights to due process. The motion said if the charges are not dropped and Bergdahl is convicted, he should at least face no punishment.

"It is not rocket science to see what was wrong with Sen. McCain's comment," the motion says. "His comments - as the Army certainly knows - constituted impermissible meddling in a pending criminal case and an abuse of his authority as chairman of a powerful Senate committee."

Representatives for McCain's office could not be immediately reached for comment, nor could a spokesman for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

U.S. military prosecutors have said Bergdahl sneaked off his post, resulting in a 45-day search that put soldiers' lives at risk and diverted attention from the fight against the Taliban.

Bergdahl was freed in a prisoner swap in May 2014 involving the release of five Taliban leaders held by the United States. The deal drew heavy criticism from Republicans.

The court-martial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 6, 2017. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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