Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall sent two top police department officials to the International City/County Management Association conference in his place, a move that cost the city nearly $7,100.
That figure was more than any other town or county included in a Daily Herald analysis spent on the conference.
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Stegall said the cost was a reasonable amount to spend on staff development.
The price tag was higher because of elevated registration fees for Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda and Elgin Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault, who are not ICMA members. Their registration fees totaled $2,565.
Stegall has attended the conference before, most recently in 2012 and 2011. Swoboda accompanied him in 2012. Stegall didn't go this time, he said, because he wanted people from other departments to benefit from the conference.
"It has relevance -- there's over 300 sessions and all of them are about managing cities," Stegall said, adding that all Elgin departments are involved in running the city. "It's a great conference."
Swoboda and Theriault, Stegall said, studied several topics, including data, performance measurement and how service delivery has changed with the use of technology. Information gained at the conference will be used in upcoming projects, Stegall said.
Elgin Councilman John Prigge, who often casts a critical eye on city spending, was OK with the conference costs.
"Both Jeff and Glenn handle a lot of duties in their job and they are called upon by Sean for advice and input in the issues he has to deal with that are non-police-related," Prigge said. "What makes them so valuable to us goes beyond what they were taught at the academy and what they've learned on the job."