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County discusses emergency management structure

Fri, Oct 11th, 2013
Posted in All Government

Sheriff Daryl Jensen described at the county board’s October 8 meeting some of the work and training necessary for Emergency Management (EM).

In 2010 Emergency Management was moved into the Sheriff’s Department. Before that it was combined with Veterans Services as a stand alone department. Veterans Services is now under the umbrella of Community Services.

Chairman Randy Dahl said he really likes EM to be within the Sheriff’s Department. Jensen agreed it is a natural fit, but maintained it really is a full time position. At present Jensen serves as EM assistant. Deputy Kevin Beck spends much of his time as emergency manager. He also serves as assistant Jail administrator and systems administrator. Jensen explained that plans constantly have to be written and kept up to date to be eligible for grants and FEMA money in the event of a disaster.

Jensen noted that in 2010 the new structure was to be tried for three years to see how it goes. Jensen opined that it is “a lot of work.” He explained that many civilians serve in the EM position across the state. Commissioner Duane Bakke said much will depend upon the new sheriff as to whether the current structure is maintained. Jensen announced awhile ago that he does not intend to run for reelection in 2014.

Jensen listed some of the current projects he has been working on during his salary request conference. Highlighted was his department’s work on a regional logging solution which he noted should save the county about 40 percent of the cost of doing it alone. The new records management system will go live on October 9 which will change the department’s way of doing business. The department has moved to echarging with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Fillmore County Attorney. A Facebook page for the Sheriff’s Office began in June.

Jensen said he was proud of the fact that he has spent his entire career working for Fillmore County. He was first hired as a deputy sheriff in 1979, making this his 35th year with the county. Jensen requested $83,744 for his 2014 salary which would be a 3.5 percent increase (94.5 percent of an average of regional sheriff salaries without Olmsted or Goodhue Counties). Jensen also receives $6,000 annually for his time spent doing EM work.

Other Business In Brief

•The official transfer of property (from the county to the state) ceremony for the State Veterans Cemetery will be held in the board room at 11 a.m. on October 15. Plans for the cemetery will likely be viewed.

•Shirl Boelter who has been the auditor/treasurer since 2007 listed past, present, and future projects for her department. One future project is to work with a credit card company to allow for property tax payers to make payments with a credit card. She requested 95 percent of the regional auditor/treasurer salary average in 2008 for her 2014 salary which would be $76,640.

•Kristina Kohn, Human Resources, stated that 14 applications have been received for the county coordinator position. The board will interview five top candidates on October 15. More applications may continue to be received until the position is filled.

•An access permit for a new field access was approved for Gene and Darlene Merkel to CSAH 12, Bloomfield Township, Section 12. The Merkels will be required to remove their old field access. The new access will provide good sight distance.

•The board approved the purchase of muni-body and snow equipment for a new tandem truck that was recently purchased. The new equipment from Universal Truck Equipment will cost $98,316.45.

•The lowest bids both from Minnowa Construction for two bridge projects were approved. The bridge (culvert) that was washed out on CSAH 23 will be replaced for $81,847.25 and will be reimbursed by FEMA. A culvert on Colt Road in Norway Township which wasn’t damaged by the flood will be replaced for $155,999. The bids for both culvert replacements were lower than the engineer’s estimates.

County Engineer Ron Gregg explained that they hope to replace the Hogback Bridge one way or another this year. He said it was functional before the storm and the state agrees. They are still discussing with FEMA whether the bridge was functional pre-flood.

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