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Workforce Development a real plus for Southeast Minnesota


Fri, May 17th, 2013
Posted in All Government

By Karen Reisner

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud reported at the May 14 county board meeting that Workforce Development helped maintain the Veteran unemployment rate at one of the lowest levels in the nation at just over 1 percent.

Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI) is an independent, non-profit agency serving ten counties of southeast Minnesota with a mission to develop and advance the workforce in the region.

They provide career planning, counseling and placement services serving nearly 6,000 adults and 400 youth during the last program year. The agency helped returning veterans by working to get private business representatives and public agency representatives trained to help with the unique challenges faced by returning veterans, while providing veterans with career counseling and guidance.

WDI was able to finally break ground to build a new Rochester Workforce Center at the Heintz Center Campus having secured bonding money.

Other Business In Brief

•Kristina Kohn, Human Resources, presented recommendations from Bjorklund Compensation Consulting for market adjustments for three positions; one grade increase for the Finance Officer, two grade increases for the Veterans Service Officer, and one grade increase for the Building Maintenance Supervisor. The last market study was completed in 2006. The board approved making the above adjustment in two phases, July 1 and October 1.

The Human Resources Officer position will also be increased by two grades to be completed in two phases, July 1 and October 1. A recommended half point pay plan adjustment will be considered at the first of the year when the cost of living adjustment is considered.

•Resolutions for four bridge grants (bridge bonding money) were approved. The bridges are located on CSAH 7 in Chatfield Township (2 bridges), CSAH 23 in Holt Township, and CSAH 15 in Carimona Township. Any cost in excess of each grant will be paid for with township funds and any grant money not required for the bridge project completion will be returned to the Minnesota State Transportation Fund.

*An access permit for Lucas and Sarah Thieke for access to CSAH 40, Chatfield Township was approved. Zoning administrator Chris Graves explained the new access was for a four acre parcel that had been split off.

•Matthew Opat will be sworn in as Minnesota Third Judicial District Judge on June 28 at 3 p.m. at the Chatfield Center for the Arts.

•Chairman Randy Dahl announced that there will no longer be bus transportation for Head Start due to federal sequester cutbacks. He also noted that the county as an employer will be looking into how to comply with the new law for Marriage Equality.

•In reference to the Workman’s Compensation Bill, county coordinator Karen Brown noted at this time PTSD, without being tied to a physical injury, is still in the bill, but the part allowing a diagnoses by a general practitioner was eliminated.

The bill includes in the definition of occupational disease and personal injury “any mental impairment.” Mental impairment, however, is to be diagnosed as “PTSD by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist.” This mental impairment can not be related to disciplinary action or termination.

Brown maintained there will be claims that we will have to contest, adding this legislation will increase costs for the private sector as well.

•There was a compromise at the committee level in proposed legislation to limit “frac” sand mines to outside a one mile radius from trout streams. Bakke had noted in the last meeting that it would not affect four of the proposed industrial sand mines in Fillmore County, calling that provision a really bad idea.

The compromise now in the bill would require a hydrological study and a new DNR permit for proposed “frac” sand mines located within one mile of a trout stream. Bakke seemed to think the latest language made more sense.

•The Board of Appeal and Equalization Hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18.

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