WIUM Tristates Public Radio

AWOL County Board Member Resigns

Oct 21, 2019

Democrat Tessa Pfafman was elected to a seat in McDonough County Board District One in November, 2018.  She was sworn into office a month later, but did not show up for any committee or full county board meetings after that.

County leaders said they tried for months to reach Pfafman but she did not respond to their queries. Now, nearly a year after she was elected, Pfafman has sent the county her resignation letter.

County Board Chairperson George Dixon said he hopes to appoint a new board member within the next couple months.

“I don’t take it lightly. I want to do some seeking, get some references on some people, and make sure we get one that’ll work,” said Dixon.

He said he will seek input from the public and the Democratic Party. He must appoint a Democrat because that was Pfafman’s party affiliation.

Pfafman teaches communications Communication at the University of Illinois in Urbana. She previously taught that subject at Western Illinois University.

County Hires New Executive Assistant

County board members agreed to hire Danette Phelps to serve as the county’s executive assistant. Phelps is currently an administrative aide at Western Illinois University.

“She has been there for more than 20 years. My point is: she started out at a secretarial level, and she grew her steps up through the ranks out there. It speaks well for her performance, I thought,” Dixon said.

He said Phelps will deal with meeting agendas and minutes, serve as the board’s human resources officer, and coordinate with the county’s department heads. 

Dixon said the county clerk handled some of those duties after the county board eliminated the position a couple years ago to save money after the previous executive assistant retired.  Dixon believes the board will benefit from having

someone take care of day-to-day responsibilities.

He said Phelps was chosen from a field of more than 30 applicants.

“Outstanding credentials,” said Dixon. “She has experience in budgeting, in human resources work, in doing grants, doing secretarial kinds of work for the board. She was very well balanced in all those areas.”

Dixon said Phelps will be paid $41,000 per year plus benefits.