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Commissioners Report: Public hearing set for Emergency Management Ordinance

Fri, Jan 26th, 2007
Posted in Government

Veteran Services/Emergency Management Director Deborah Teske reviewed a draft for the Fillmore County Ordinance at the January 23 county board meeting. The ordinance is required by the state and the draft has been reviewed by the county attorney and coordinator. The ordinance establishes an organization to be responsible for planning and preparation for a disaster in the county whether natural or from hostile action. It also sets a plan for mutual aid between the county and other governmental entities. Teske as the director is responsible for the organization, "subject to the direction and the control of the Board of County Commissioners." The board set the Public Hearing to air citizen concerns about the ordinance for February 27 at 9:45 a.m. in the board room.

Teske detailed the accomplishments of her office during 2006. She noted that she has completed the training required by the federal government, passed the test, and is now certified. Her training required for state certification is more than half way completed. The state allows four years to complete the certification process. Her office has created a web site for veterans and a brochure detailing the services available from the county. She presented a long list of ongoing and completed accomplishments, as well as a shorter list of areas that need addressing, some by federal law. Commissioner Duane Bakke stated that none of the board is complaining about items not yet completed and that they recognize that she is working on state certification along with her other duties.

County Attorney

At the December 12, 2006, meeting County Attorney Brett Corson discussed with the board the possibility of increasing the .4 position currently held by Leigh Campbell to a full time position. At that time he explained that Houston County along with the city of Rushford have expressed interest in contracting with Fillmore County for attorney work. Corson said that he preferred to work with Rushford and create a .8 position for Campbell. He argued that this would leave more time for the increased needs of the Social Service Department for work caused by changes in medical assistance and asset recovery cases. Twenty-five percent of recoveries are kept by the county with the rest going to either the state or federal government.

Commissioners Chuck Amunrud and Duane Bakke expressed their preference for a full time position if something favorable could be worked out with Houston County. Chairman Marc Prestby noted that he was not opposed to the idea depending on the contract numbers. Campbell would be Fillmore County's employee and contract out no more than half of her time. Leigh Campbell suggested that an agreement with Houston County would not be much of an improvement over her current situation. She now works two jobs and if half her time were committed to Houston County, it would require a great deal of travel time. The board by consensus asked Corson to get figures from Houston County. Bakke said that if her time were split between the two counties, there would not be time to work for Rushford.

Prestby asked Corson directly, "If I vote in favor on this, are we going to move on that property in Mabel?" He was referring to a property that he requested that the county attorney put through the probate process more than a couple of years ago. Corson has suggested that the county would recover as much by letting the property be sold for non-payment of property taxes several years from now. Prestby is adamant that leaving the house stand empty for several more years is not properly serving the city of Mabel.

Public Health

Director of Public Health Sharon Serfling requested and received approval for a contract for a Blue Cross Blue Shield Grant in the amount of $35,000 for Fillmore and Houston Counties.

The board accepted the retirement of Sharon Evavold, Public Health Nurse, with thanks for her service effective April 1 after about twenty-five years of work for the county. Serfling stated that Evavold worked a .8 position and she requested that they advertise for a replacement as a full time position. Serfling suggested that the salary should be based on qualifications and experience. Commissioner Randy Dahl suggested that a nurse potentially could be over qualified for a beginning level job. He said that an applicant should be asked whether the job would be accepted at a specific offered salary.

Serfling also requested salary adjustment for a previously hired nurse. Commissioners were cool to the request and by consensus decided not to discuss a salary adjustment. They generally agreed that wage policy should be consistent across the different departments.

Recorders Salary

County Recorder David Kiehne sent an e-mail to the commissioners stating his non-acceptance of the second offer from the board for his salary. At the January 9 meeting, Kiehne's salary was addressed for the second time and set at $45,000. Duane Bakke suggested that Kiehne be notified that the second offer was the last offer. The board agreed by consensus. Chuck Amunrud wanted it on the record that he was not part of this discussion. Kiehne has the option of further appealing his salary by going to court.

Stafford Hansen left during the latter half of the meeting because of illness.

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