Concerns raised about hiring nurse at jail

Diana Gering, Health Department administrator and six RNs attended Monday's Cloud County Commission meeting and discussed the hiring of a nurse at the Law Enforcement Center. Highway administrator Andy Asch, Solid Waste director Mike Hake and treasurer JoDee LeDuc also were present for the discussion.
Gering told the board that in no way do they have any concerns about the nurse who was hired, but the wage she was being paid. She inquired how the wage was determined. Wages of RN's in the Health Department are in the $17 range. Even Gering does not make $30 an hour with the cost of her benefits included.
Gering previously pulled the contract with the Law Enforcement Center because of liability concerns. Stating lack of policies and procedures; allowing correction officers overseeing insulin shots putting not only the RN but the County at risk. Gering with the agreement of other department heads, is frustrated that multiple positions were cut for 2017 to then have a new position created with an above high wage in comparison to other employees.
Sheriff Brian Marks has not attended a commission meeting since the hiring and it was not previously discussed with the board so they are unaware of how the wage was determined. Commissioner Bill Czapanskiy said that the position originally was a contract position and was unsure how it was changed to County personnel.
Commissioner Gary Caspers said he thought the position should have been advertised at the County's RN rate before it was offered or paid at a higher rate.
Also discussed was the lack of raises over the years and keeping up with RN salaries. Most Health Department employees enjoy the work they are doing at the County and appreciate the benefits so elect to stay at a lower rate than they could find elsewhere but they are offended at this hiring. Board members communicated the limited control they have with other County elected officials.
In other business, the board, County clerk Shella Thoman, Hake, Asch, Gering and LeDuc discussed the Blue Cross/Blue Shield renewal. Thoman will see if a representative from Group Benefit Specialist can come in the next two weeks to discuss the differences in the options presented. Options presented including non-grandfathered plans with an increase in deductible and co-insurance; however preventive services would be paid at 100 percent. Changes in plan options include increases ranging from 19.88 percent to 29.6 percent; the current plan with no change is a 28 percent increase.
Asch reported his department finished the 120 day cover on the CD pit. A previous pit was not filled to capacity so employees are working on that elevation. Hake also discussed the service contract with RMA Engineering, LLC. The County pays approximately $8,000 a year; Hake said he believes that it might be better for the County if it were to pay for services used rather than having a contract. The State has no requirements. No decision was made. Hake also reported that 43,651 pounds of cardboard and 43,658 pounds of mixed paper were shipped out from the Recycling Center.  Work also is being done on the crawler.
Asch reported his employees are still working on patching, rock jobs and ordered a railroad car. Asch presented two classification changes. The board recognized the termination of Clint Jensen effective Oct. 23. The board approved the wage change for Travis Mills from $13 to $13.69 because of the end of his probationary period.
Sue Sutton, representing the National Orphan Train Museum Board, discussed the discovery that orphans were brought to Concordia in approximately 1864-1865 using the Missouri-River Branch. The museum plans to have a Mystery Tour at the next Orphan Train celebration the first weekend in June 2017 and asked if the approach to the railroad bridge could be cleared so those attending could see it; it is north of the U.P. bridge. Asch said he will look into it and contact Sutton.
Commissioners discussed the voting delegate and alternate for the KCAMP annual meeting Nov. 15 and decided it would remain the same as last year—Caspers, delegate; and Czapanskiy, alternate. They also discussed a previous visit from Lisa Keating with Family Heritage; they decided that Keating could provide information about her products and the board would pass them along to County employees but the County will not release employee information for her to contact them. The board intends to use maintenance personnel for mowing at the Law Enforcement Center in 2017.
Marlene Stamm, NCK Environmental, LLC gave the board a quarterly update including five new permits, the completion of nine permits and two real estate inspections. Stamm also reported she would be attending some meetings in Newton and Lawrence.
The board approved the following payroll expenses totaling $142,677.91: General Fund. $69,099.77; Appraisal, $5,131.90; Noxious Weed, $511.54; Solid Waste, $8,006.86; Road & Bridge, $43,233.23; County Health, $15,362.47; Election, $1,332.14; Payroll deductions and benefits, $179,030.64.
Commissioners reported on attending the following meetings/events: Czapanskiy, ribbon cutting for Cloud County Resource Event Center, Oct. 17; Caspers, KWORCC board of trustees meeting, Oct. 20, Topeka; Gail Engle, Juvenile Detention meeting, Junction City, Oct. 19.
Next meeting will be 9 a.m., Oct. 31. 


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