By Julie Ann Madden
Just what are the goals the Union County Commissioners would like to achieve in this new year?
At their Jan. 8 meeting, Chairman Doyle Karpen presented his list and Commissioners Ross Jordan and Milton Ustad added a few more.
Karpen’s list included:
• Hold a surplus property auction by March 31.
Karpen suggested having an online auction using the IQBid.com online auction service.
However, several department heads felt the county would be better off with a traditional auction because of the number of pallets of excess office equipment and supplies they have accumulated.
In addition, a large highway department piece of equipment is at the county’s gravel pit and is too large to be transported on county roads. Therefore, the consensus was to have Public Works Director Raymond Roggow hire an auctioneer and set the time and date for an auction at the county gravel pit, on west side of County Road 2, north of S.D. Highway 50.
Later in the meeting, Register of Deeds Jana Foltz asked permission to trade-in three Gateway computers when her three new computers arrive. Commissioners were in favor of this and also asked her to inquire if the computer company would take other surplus computers.
• Hang the projector from the ceiling in the Commission’s Meeting Room by end of February.
• Create a Compensation Board to set salary ranges for employees’ positions.
Commissioner Ross Jordan suggested using the model that Plymouth County (Iowa) Supervisors use. Each elected official would select a non-elected/non-employee representative to represent his or her interests on the Compensation Board and the Commissioners would select two commissioners to sit on this Compensation Board.
Then each elected official would individually meet with this Compensation Board and present their argument for whatever percentage of salary increase he or she wants.
Then the Compensation Board would meet and decide what salary percentage increase, if any, to recommend to the Commissioners.
The Commissioners have the choice to agree or disagree with the recommended salary increase. Their final salary decision can be equal to or less than the Compensation Board’s recommendation but not higher.
In Plymouth County, elected officials’ employees are given a percentage of the elected official’s salary as set by a salary schedule. For example: deputies receive 65 percent of their elected official’s salary and clerks receive 45 percent.
Karpen wanted this completed by March 31.
• Have an executive session where the commissioners critique each other.
• Increase the use of Pictometry by county employees. Now that the county has this computer software, commissioners want employees to use it frequently.
• Organize the Commission Room. Commissioners have talked several times over the past few years about cleaning out the bookshelf in their meeting room and the stuff in all the nooks and crannies.
• Closing the old jail, located in the basement of the courthouse; and
• Restructure the Assessor’s Office, Extension Office and Planning & Zoning Offices in the basement of the courthouse. Commissioners would need to decide on whether to proceed with their ideas or the ideas Building Superintendent Scott Sexton, Planning Director Dennis Henze and Director of Equalization Dawn Steckelberg presented.
Commissioner Milton Ustad added:
• Form a committee to set salary ranges with a minimum and maximum amount for each employee position. The committee would consist of two commissioners and two or three department heads.
Jordan and Karpen suggested to have “outsiders” do this in order to have a fair, objective recommendation.
Karpen requested the other commissioners think about this list of goals.