ELBURN – Elburn Village Board members unanimously decided that the Elburn Community Emergency Response Team should be a function of the village and CERT’s insurance should be covered by the village.
Trustee Dave Gualdoni, who works closely with the CERT group, abstained from the vote.
Elburn had been providing insurance at a cost of $1,062, but Village Administrator Erin Willret had pushed for a definition of the group’s relationship with the village.
“Is this a function of the village?” Willret asked. Trustee Bill Grabarek said another question might be, “if this organization wasn’t here, what would we do?”
Trustees determined the work performed by the group’s members would be worth the coverage. For instance, group members will help direct traffic at crash scenes, and they have assisted with the annual Christmas Stroll in downtown Elburn.
Police Chief Steve Smith said staffing for the Christmas Stroll once had been six officers, but with the help of CERT – whose members are unpaid volunteers – that now has been reduced to two. If CERT members would not be available, Smith said, police would try to staff the event.
Trustee Ethan Hastert asked Smith what an officer might be paid for such work, at time and a half. The answer was $45 an hour, which led Hastert to say that CERT provides a valuable service.
“I don’t see a reason to change what we’re doing,” Hastert said.
Before the vote, Village President Dave Anderson had pushed for a decision, telling board members that “I want to make a decision, and I want to do so one way or another.” Trustee Jeff Walter added, “We need to continue the coverage.”