PEKIN — Tazewell County Auditor Shelly Hranka said she's willing to sue the county if an accord isn't reached in the next month over a long-simmering dispute over funding, staffing and duties in her office.
"By state law they must give an elected official the dollars to run the internal operations of the office — and that is state law. They have not done that," she said Wednesday afternoon.
Hranka also said a number of functions given to the office by state statute have been transferred elsewhere within county government, and she believes they should return to the aegis of her office and its budget.
"I have tried to work with the County Board and the state's attorney over the last 17 months with no avail," she said, citing the time since her 2016 inauguration in the post.
County Board Chairman David Zimmerman said he and State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz have met with Hranka on the issue, and that he's happy to continue to work with her on identifying what duties can be returned to her office.
But, he cautioned, some county offices might end up still doing similar work.
"Part of the statute gives her the authority to do some (financial) forecasting," he said. "I think our position is just because we do some forecasting, it doesn't preclude her from doing that forecasting as well."
Zimmerman also said that the current budget for the auditor includes a still-unused amount for a part-time employee, and that, to the best of his knowledge, Hranka has not presented a request with supporting information to the county's human resources committee for additional staff.
"I'm sorry that she threatens a lawsuit; we're willing to listen to any need she has," Zimmerman said.
He also said such a suit could be costly to the county because the state's attorney's office would likely have to hire outside counsel.
Chris Kaergard covers politics and government. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.