November 11, 2019

County commissioners address personnel issues - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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County commissioners address personnel issues

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 3:52 pm

Lake County Commissioners addressed a variety of personnel issues on Tuesday morning, many of which Shelli Gust, commission administrative officer, identified as "housekeeping" matters.

Early in the meeting, commissioners decided not to change the decision made in January to give county employees the same holidays that state employees receive. The issue came up at a previous meeting when state employees were notified that Dec. 23-24 would be paid holidays in addition to Christmas Day.

"I don't feel we should change at the end of the year," Commissioner Deb Reinicke said.

The matter was considered decided when no one else expressed an opinion contrary to Reinicke's, and Gust told commissioners no action was required. The final commission meeting of the year was scheduled for 4 p.m. on Dec. 30 to give the Auditor's Office time to prepare for it.

Commissioners formally adopted the 2020 wage scale, which was presented during budget meetings and approved, making wage adjustments effective Dec. 16 to be reflected in 2020 paychecks. Gust noted the part-time position of victim/witness assistant, with a beginning wage of $17.25 per hour, was added to the wage scale since it was introduced.

They approved hiring Walker Ruhd as a heavy equipment operator at $18.25 per hour. They also approved giving Highway Department employees Larry Hand and Jeff Poncelet wage adjustments early so the newly-hired employee did not earn more than they did.

Commissioners approved status changes for Erin Reinicke and Betty Wise, both of whom work in the Treasurer's Office. Effective Dec. 16, they will earn $18.25 per hour.

Jamie Rowe, a nurse who has been working for the Lake County Sheriff's Office on a contract basis, was hired as a part-time employee with no benefits at a rate of $20 per hour.

Gust asked commissioners to formally eliminate two positions: assistant emergency manager and assistant veterans service officer. They did so and authorized her to post the position of victim/witness assistant.

In other business, the commissioners:

-- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Madison which establishes the framework of cooperation between the city and the county regarding the Section 22 water resources plan to be completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The plan will evaluate alternatives for flood risk management and update a study conducted by Banner Associates in 1995.

-- Received a quarterly report from Jennifer Hayford, 4-H adviser, who provided participation numbers for four events held during the fourth quarter: Lake County Achievement Days, state horse show, South Dakota State Fair, and Save Our Farm Youth (SOFY) Day which is sponsored by the Madison FFA.

-- Acknowledged receiving a letter from FEMA regarding South Dakota Strategic Advances, which will use engineering data models to identify Special Flood Hazard Areas on the Flood Insurance Rate Map for this area. Gust said the project began in 2016.

According to published reports, Sean McNabb, Risk MAP Specialist with FEMA, told community members at that time that FEMA was considering 27 counties in eastern South Dakota to "really look at this entire area as a whole from a watershed level and get a good idea of how the water is flowing." Gust reported FEMA is moving to Phase II of this project.

-- Gust reported the Lake County 5-Year Highway and Bridge Improvement Plan has been submitted to the state Department of Transportation and has been approved. She said the county can now apply for a Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG).

-- Approved two applications for occupancy for underground construction on county road rights-of-way from Orland Ridge Dairy, LLC. Ty Eschenbaum with A1 Development Solutions, LLC, indicated the applications were for water lines from wells to the dairy.

He also updated commissioners on the project. He said his company would continue to act as a liaison facilitating communication. He reported dirt work has been done and a concrete plant has been set up.

The goal is to enclose the buildings by winter so work can continue. Barring other delays such as those created by the weather this year, the dairy will be stocked with cows next fall. The Bosma family did put up silage this year with that in mind, according to Eschenbaum.

-- Postponed making a decision on the purchase of a backhoe which has been rented from Butler Machinery. Lake County Auditor Bobbi Janke, who received a copy of the sales agreement and amortization schedule in the meeting, asked for an opportunity to review the paperwork.

-- Supported County Highway Superintendent Nels Nelson's recommendation that the county stop maintaining an inventory of culverts. He said it ties up approximately $31,000 which could be used elsewhere. Nelson indicated it would be more cost effective for the county if townships picked up their own culverts from the supplier.

-- Approved a cell phone stipend of $30 per month for Nelson, who uses his personal cell phone for county business.

-- Received a report from Sheriff Tim Walburg, who said the price of guns has gone up since he presented a quote earlier this year. He also indicated he is applying for a DUI overtime grant.

Walburg fielded questions about radios which have been purchased for the county from various funding sources. He indicated no radios have been ordered for the Highway Department.

-- Considered 22 items of pending litigation and one contractual matter in executive session.

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