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Madison County Treasurer’s employees at center of complaint get big raises

By   /  July 31, 2014  /  4 Comments

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Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler put his words to action when he recently gave large raises to two office employees accused of taking part in politically motivated work on taxpayer time.

Kurt Prenzler at a news conference he arranged on May 30 at the St. Clair County Administration Building / Photo by Roger Starkey

Kurt Prenzler at a news conference he arranged on May 30 at the St. Clair County Administration Building / Photo by Roger Starkey

Prenzler told The Metro Independent on June 3 that work done by an employee in his office to assist with the investigation of St. Clair County tax sale records was completed on personal time. When told evidence suggested the work was done during regular business hours, Prenzler responded in email on June 4 to say one staffer had provided minimal assistance.

“I consider an analysis of tax sales of neighboring counties to be within my duties and responsibilities as treasurer,” Prenzler said. “Sam Borders used his computer to burn several CDs pertaining to tax sales statistics.”

Records from the compact discs distributed to the media by Prenzler at a May 30 press conference appear to show that Borders not only copied files to the discs, but also modified and printed documents. Chief Deputy Treasurer, Doug Hulme also appears to have modified documents on May 29.

Hulme attended the May 30 press conference at the St. Clair County Administration building at which Prenzler presented the results of his office’s investigation. Hulme was also present with Prenzler at a May 16 “Save our Jobs Rally,” hosted by U.S. Steel, in Granite City. The pair wore bright orange campaign t-shirts and helped hoist a “…Kurt Prenzler CPA Stands with Steelworks” sign.

Following a June 4 story by The Metro Independent, and a June 3 Freedom of Information Act request from Jack Daugherty, a Madison County Democratic committeeman, the Treasurer’s Office requested changes to already submitted timecards from Borders and Hulme. The requests were to change the time questioned in both the June 4 story and a complaint filed by Daugherty.

(see previous stories: Madison County treasurer referred for investigation, calls charges political and “Prenzler used taxpayer money to investigate fellow treasurer, says part of duties”)

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons referred the matter to the Madison County Ethics Advisor and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on June 6. At the time, Prenzler, a Republican, said the charges were purely political.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is a dead issue until we hear back from Lisa Madigan’s office,” Prenzler said. “This is all politics.”

On June 23, Prenzler rewarded Borders with a promotion and a $4.81 per hour raise – or $10,004.80 per year. Hulme received the same raise on the same day.

Borders now receives $19.23 per hour, ($39,998.40 per year). Hulme, who was hired as an administrative assistant in January at $19.24 per hour ($40,019.20 per year), now makes $28.85 per hour ($60,008 per year).

Hulme was promoted from administrative assistant to Chief Deputy Treasurer on Feb. 24 and given a $4.80 per hour raise – or about $10,000 per year – at that time.

Borders was promoted on June 23 to replace Patricia Stanley as the operations manager. Stanley, who was given a separation agreement in May, had been working three days per week over the preceding year, although she was on leave for much of 2014.

In exchange for a lump sum payment equal to 176 hours of her normal pay, Stanley agreed to not take legal action against Madison County for matters relating to her time working for the county. The agreement indicates that Stanley was released due to restructuring and the County agreed to not take legal action.

Candace Gilstrap, Cynthia Ellis and Susan Padgett received $1 per hour raises on June 23 also. None of the other nine Treasurer’s office employees listed on the Madison County website received a raise that day.

Multiple attempts, over a six-day period, to reach Prenzler by phone and email for this story were unsuccessful. When asked if there is a current investigation based on on the information received about Prenzler’s office, a spokesperson for Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office said it is policy to neither confirm nor deny an investigation. Gibbons’ declined to comment on the current status of the complaints filed against Prenzler.

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4 Comments

  1. Dave West says:

    Wow, the chief deputy treasurer is only making $60,000/year? He is by far the lowest paid chief deputy in the county. Why didn’t you point that out, Mr. Starkey? And the other 9 employees are most likely union members, part of a collective bargaining agreement, so of course they wouldn’t/couldn’t receive a raise, since their salaries and raises have already been negotiated through their contract. Why didn’t you also point that out? Is this amateur hour? No wonder Prenzler won’t give you the time of day.

    • Bob Rice says:

      I find it truly ironic that the SAME PEOPLE who ALWAYS whine about spending, are now defending these incredibly suspicious huge raises for just the people who are implicated in the Prenzler Ethics violation. It would seem they are NOW claiming $10,000 a year raise for a person who sits around and watches 10 other people do all the work is underpaid, yet those SAME underpaid people apparently have enough time on their hands to steal tax payers time, use tax payers equipment, and the tax payers offices to play politics for Prenzler. If this had happened in a Democrats office the same whiners would be screaming bloody murder, they would be marching around the Courthouse with their “Don’t tread on me” flags, and writing the papers for this guy to be indicted or forced to resign. The County Board should seriously consider removing him from office as the State Law on corruption allows them to do. Doing nothing just encourages more corruption.

  2. John Miller (false name) says:

    The comment provided by the person using the name John Miller has been removed.

    The Metro Independent discovered that the email address used was a false address. The comment also contained false statements intended solely to damage the reputation of this publication and a political figure. Because the statements were easily verified to be false, they were removed.

    Per Metro Independent policy, for all comments posted on the site, a valid email address must be used and statements cannot be defamatory, racist or sexist.

    The email address of commenters is not visible, but must be provided. Only the Metro Independent has access to the email address provided.

    When a comment is posted that is not within guidelines, The Metro Independent will attempt to remove it promptly. However, there may be times when it is necessary to contact the person who posted the comment.

  3. Dave Thomas says:

    Why doesn’t Mr. Prenzler respond to this article himself, instead of having his lackeys do it?

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