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Board adds to administrative coordinator's duties

In his role as Administrative Coordinator, Curt Kephart is one of the busiest individuals working for Pierce County.

At the county board meeting Tuesday, Kephart's job description was further expanded as ordinances were approved allowing for the Administrative Coordinator to supervise the Medical Examiner and Emergency Management Director.

However, the action wasn't without some debate.

Supervisor Jim Camery was the first to voice his displeasure, saying, specifically in regard to the Emergency Management Director, in a time of crisis wouldn't the sheriff be the one in command?

Board Chairman Paul Barkla responded it was his belief Supervisors Mike Larson and John Kucinski, both excused from this meeting and members of the law enforcement committee for awhile, felt the sheriff wouldn't want the responsibility. Current Sheriff Nancy Hove, who attended the meeting, declined to comment on this issue.

Supervisor Don Nellessen wondered, because Kephart has already taken on additional duties, would adding these two functions overload him? Barkla said if he has too much, he has to let the finance and personnel committee know, as Kephart reports to them.

Supervisor Pamela Sans thought the Administrative Coordinator would be perfect for the additional duties because "they're more in tune with the rest of the county," as she put it.

Evidentally, most fellow supervisors agreed with Sans, as the vote went 10-5 on both ordinance requests. Those who voted no on each one were Camery, Nellessen, Kirstin Schilling, Jeff Holst and William Gilles.

Personnel policy

The personnel issues the county faces were dealt more in-depth at the finance and personnel committee meeting the previous night. This time, in front of the entire county board, the matter was gaining approval of the personnel policy.

The policy passed as presented with one minor adjustment regarding position vacancy. The administrative coordinator may, instead of shall, authorize the refill of any position when a vacancy occurs if the position is part of the approved staffing plan and the department head and/or the administrative coordinator (it was previously both of them) chooses not to refill the position. The coordinator may also revise the position description or amend the staffing plan, but such a recommendation needs to go to the finance and personnel committee and, if necessary, the county board for approval.

Recognition awards

The board approved a request to present certificates of recognition and commendation to Lee Skog and Everett Muhlhausen, former county treasurer and sheriff, respectively. Skog served in his role for 12 years, while Muhlhausen was sheriff for six.

At the same time, the board approved a resolution recognizing Paula Knutson, Skog's replacement as treasurer.

Other action

In further action, the board:

--Approved the purchase of a 2007 Caterpillar motor grader at a net cost of $81,790, with Supervisors Rich Purdy and Ben Plunkett dissenting.

--Deferred taking action on the county fund reserve balance because a report was unavailable.

--Heard from Bill Warner, who is starting his second tour as executive director for the Pierce County Economic Development Corporation. Warner previously served in that role from 1989-1996. His first official day of work was Wednesday.

--Heard a report from Park Chairman Mel Pittman. He said the excavation at Nugget Lake County Park is ongoing and the hope is for it to be done by early next month.

The next regular county board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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