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Pierce County administrator will not relocate

ELLSWORTH -- The Pierce County Board voted this week to remove a moving expense allotment from Administrative Coordinator Curt Kephart's contract, to pay him $250 a month for in-county travel and other expenses and to clarify that he is supervised by the Finance and Personnel Committee.

The $1,000 moving expense allowance was removed because Kephart, who lives in Rochester, doesn't intend to move to Pierce County. He said last week that his wife works in Rochester and they don't plan to give up their home there.

The contract amendment also specifies that Kephart is allowed to have a more flexible work schedule and may sometimes work from home. He and the board agree that Kephart's work week will normally exceed the typical 40 hours and that he must often attend night meetings.

Kephart, who began work in August 2005, receives an annual salary of $70,000. He is eligible for an increase in August 2007 subject to satisfactory performance evaluations.

In other business Tuesday, supervisors held first readings on amendments that will transfer responsibility for supervising the emergency management director to the administrative coordinator.

Emergency Management Director Gary Brown currently reports to the County Board's three-member Emergency Management Committee.

Supervisor Jim Camery, Clifton Township, said he'll vote against the amendments because the emergency department should be under law enforcement.

"Are we doing something just to make meetings shorter for another committee?" he asked.

River Falls Supervisor Mike Larson, who serves on the Emergency Management and Law Enforcement Committee, said the sheriff doesn't want to supervise emergency management.

"The sheriff has a lot on his plate -- or her plate -- now," Larson said. Also, the Emergency Management Committee meets infrequently and can hardly provide day-to-day supervision.

"When a tornado strikes, who do we want holding a bullhorn?" wondered Camery, asking who would be in charge in an emergency.

Judy Wiff can be reached at or (715) 425-1561.