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Plans made to add, expand county jobs

St. Croix County’s Administration Committee is urging the County Board to add three new county jobs, make three other part-time jobs full time and upgrade another position.

Those job changes will require adding $86,864 to the 2014 budget, a change the full board will be asked to approve.

The jobs are in the Information Technology Department, the Clerk of Courts office, county court, Facilities Department and the Health and Human Services Department.

These are a lot of jobs to open up halfway through the year, said Supervisor Judy Achterhof, Emerald.

“Does this happen every year?” she asked.

“Well, it shouldn’t happen very often, but we see a need (for the positions this year),” replied County Administrator Pat Thompson. He said justifying a mid-year addition is a “high bar” to reach.

Committee members were told to expect that the jobs will continue into next year and the costs would be included in the 2015 budget.

Citing increased workload and management responsibilities, Information Technology Director John Allegro asked for the addition of a senior systems engineer position in his department. He also said that because of growing demands from users and more devices, the department needs to add an end-point specialist. Total cost for those two positions for the rest of the year is estimated at $47,954.

Clerk of Court Lori Meyer asked that a deputy clerk’s position be increased from part-time to full time, and the county judges asked that the juvenile services clerk – who has increased duties related to Juvenile Treatment Court, probate and the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition – also be made full time.

“One of our biggest problems is turnover,” said Judge Scott Needham, speaking in support of making the deputy clerk position full time. He said the amount of work and its intensity cause stress and it’s hard to train new people.

“These are jobs where we can’t have mistakes,” said Needham, noting that he’s been seeing more errors recently and thinks that’s because of the amount of work and limited employees.

Also, said Needham, more and more people are acting as their own lawyers and assisting them takes more time from clerks and judges.

“We spend a great deal of time trying to help them get through the system,” said Needham, who said he’d like to see two people working the clerk’s front desk rather than just the one who is there now.

Cost of the added hours for the deputy clerk would be $15,295 for the rest of the year while the extra cost for the juvenile services clerk would be $15,319.

Facilities Director Jim Elsbury asked for a part-time custodian for the new Health and Human Services Center. He said the building is typically open until 9 or 10 p.m. so the new employee would work from 5-10 p.m., doing custodial work and providing some security for the building.

Estimated cost for the custodian is $6,543. Health and Human Services Director Fred Johnson asked that a youth and community support social worker be promoted to lead social worker. He said the lead position is in his department’s organizational chart but hasn’t been filled.

The additional cost is $1,753 for the rest of the year.

The committee also supported increasing a behavioral health nurse position from 20 to 40 hours a week.

Human Services Director Tammy Funk reported that her department hasn’t been able to recruit a part-time nurse. Because of that and because the current nurse plans to reduce her hours in 2015, Funk recommended making the new job full time. She said the department can cover the extra costs for 2014.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

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