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Democratic Candidate Darlene Kloeppel Endorsed by Former State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson & Announces Concerns for County Board Setting $117,000 Salary

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY- Darlene Kloeppel, Democratic candidate for Champaign County Executive, has announced the endorsement of Naomi Jakobsson, who served as State Representative of the 103rd District, representing Champaign and Urbana, for 12 years (2003-2015) and as Champaign County Recorder of Deeds for 12 years (1984-1996).
"Darlene is a highly qualified candidate and I believe she has what it takes to make a substantial impact in this county," said Jakobsson. "It's wonderful to see such an intelligent and dedicated person as Darlene step forward for this crucial office. A lot of important values and investments will rely on the quality of person who is elected County Executive and I am certain that Darlene is that person."

Kloeppel served as Director of Community Services for the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission for over 15 years. She has prior financial experience working on the Federal project that integrated hospice services into the Medicare payment system, start-up of some of the first hospices around the United States, and managing annual grants totaling over $11 million. She also assisted in the leadership transition of corporate executives from three merging hospital systems to form Provena Health Care (now Presence) and provided strategic consulting nationally for government agencies and private corporations. She holds advanced degrees in city planning, architecture and social work. With her husband Jim, Kloeppel raised four children in Urbana, including Chris Kloeppel, who currently serves as President of the Champaign Unit 4 School Board.

"With all of the cynicism around politics right now in this country, it’s reassuring to see someone with the integrity of Darlene step forward to lead and to speak out against the unreasonably high salary that was preliminarily recommended by the County Board Committee of the Whole last week," Jakobsson added.

Last Tuesday, by narrow margin, the Champaign County Board Committee of the Whole voted to recommend the approval of a County Executive salary of $117,269. The Board will take a final vote on the issue at Thursday's Champaign County Board Meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Lyle Shields Board Room at the Brookens Administrative Center at 1776 E. Washington St., Urbana.

Kloeppel noted, "Right now, the county has several looming budget issues that will require tough decisions. It seems wise to me that setting the salary of any position or office should reflect the opportunity to reduce costs if at all possible.”
Many details are still unresolved about how the role of Executive will be carried out as the county makes the transition to the County Executive form of governance. Kloeppel stated, “I urge the County Board to consider starting the salary out for this new office at a modest level to leave some room for future decisions as these details are worked out.” She added, “We need public servants who are motivated by public service rather than higher and higher salaries, and I hope to fill the office regardless of the salary level decided by the County Board.”

The primary election for Champaign County Executive will take place Tuesday, March 20, 2018, and the general election is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. County Executive is a new office created by the narrow passage of a November 2016 countywide referendum. The County Executive will oversee the county administrative staff, have a tie-breaking vote and veto power for County Board resolutions, and make county appointments (with Board approval). The new office will become one of two County Executive offices in the whole state of Illinois, the other one in Will County. Rock Island County briefly repealed the office of Executive in 1996.


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