School Superintendent position moves to treasurer’s office

A public hearing to cover two topics was held by the commissioners last week.

One subject was to see about the closing of the county offices after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

The other dealt with the possible consolidation of the county School Superintendent position to consolidate with another elected office.

Both topics were taken under advisement by the commissioners onvotes of 3-0. Commissioner Joe Christiaens was present at the meeting via a land-line phone.

Elected officials at the hearing included commissioners Janice Hoppes and Sandi Broesder, Kody Farkell, Jeanne Moon, and Mary Ann Ries, along with Janice Hayworth, Angie Munroe, Heidi Owens, Ron and Joyce Jones and Susan Gustafson.

For the holiday closing of the county offices, there was no comment from the public.

For the Superintendent of Schools, there were several questions from the public and a few included asking what the annual budget was. It is about $30,000 per year. Approximately $20,000 is for salary and the rest for mileage travel and other operating expenses.

The commissioners were asked why the county is looking at consolidating the position. Hoppes said the decreasing number of rural schools in the county makes it more difficult to warrant a half-time position, as it is now. Presently, the Dupuyer school has only three students.

Those attending the hearing expressed the feeling that the rural schools would best be served with a Superintendent of Schools as a stand-alone office because they felt in that position the person would most likely be an advocate for the rural schools and provide support when needed.

The commissioners moved to take the position under advisement.

At their regular Wednesday meeting, the commissioners, on a 3-0 vote passed a resolution, R-19, to close the county offices Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, in addition to being closed on the holiday, Nov. 28.

Employees wishing to work during the affected hours, and employees who do not have vacation time or compensatory hours to apply to the benefit hours, may work.

Concerning the Superintendent of Schools, the commissioners, on a 3-0 vote, moved to have the position of superintendent (non-certified duties) and the county treasurer position consolidated. It became effective with the passing of Resolution-20.

Additional compensation of $3,500 per year will be received by the county treasurer for the position. Commissioners anticipate the county will see about $15,000 in savings.

The consolidated position will be an elected position beginning with the 2014 election cycle.

In other business before the commission, a tax abatement request by Treasurer Moon was passed for a 1999 tax bill on a bin and pole shed that was sold at auction in 1998.

An emergency performance grant was approved under which the county is reimbursed about one-half of the costs of the county Disaster and Emergency Services department expense ($31,500). The grant is for expenses that took place between Oct. 2013 and Nov. 2014.

Commissioner Hoppes moved to accept the Extension Agent job announcement written by the MSU-Extension service and give written approval to advertise the job announcement. The motion got a second from Broesder and passed on a 3-0 vote.

There was some discussion about having a “courtesy car” at the airport. Hoppes didn’t see the need for one at this time. Broesder would like to explore options and insurance costs for a vehicle.

No action was taken at this time.

The commissioners meet in their county office every Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The public is always welcome to attend and get swept up by the bustling civics-in-action.