Marinette County Is Seeking New Highway CommissionerIssue Date: May 31, 2018
Marinette County Administrator John LeFebvre asked County Board members to let people know he is seeking applicants for the Highway Commissioner position recently vacated by Rick Rickaby. He will be accepting applications this time through June 21, and if there are no suitable applicants the search will be extended.
"We wish Rick the best," LeFebvre told the board. Rickaby, who was appointed commissioner a year ago, resigned to accept a job in the private sector.
To a question from Supervisor Ted Sauve, LeFebvre said a degree in Civil Engineering is preferred, but is not a job requirement, but a Bachelor's degree is. Full job requirements are on the county web site.
LeFebvre said until a new commissioner is on the job, Emergency Government Director Eric Burmeister has stepped up to the plate and is providing help with budget and management of the Highway Department until a new commissioner is selected. Burmeister's work in the office leaves the patrol supervisors free to manage their crews and the jobs they are working on.
LeFebvre has previously expressed preference for promoting from within whenever possible, but said in this case that probably cannot happen. There is another retirement coming up in July, and a number of experienced individuals in the department are at or near retirement age. "For me to promote from within at this point would be short changing the patrol supervisors," LeFebvre said.
In other action at the meeting the board approved a contract with Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living to provide foster care services at the Crossroads Juvenile group home on Schacht Road in the Town of Peshtigo, starting as soon as possible and running through December 31 of this year, at a cost not to exceed $95,000. This is less than the amount remaining in the annual budget, so that will not be a problem, LeFebvre said.
Action at the meeting included approval of a $46,505 addition to the REM contract for consumer placements of juveniles from outside the county.
Crossroads provides housing for up to eight older juveniles in a group home setting and has been operated by the non-profit Marinette County Group Home Association, Inc., through a contract with the county Department of Health and Human Services.
The Group Home Association a few months ago informed the county they cannot continue providing the services the juveniles placed there require. They have offered to sell the home to the county, but while negotiations continue on the possible purchase the county will be leasing it from them to avoid disruption of the juveniles who live there.
The Group Home Association will continue operating Taylor House and Anthony House, which are facilities for adults with problems including mental disabilities and drug addictions.
Negotiations for purchase of the Crossroads facility have been in progress but no price has been established. Crossroads built the facility with the help of county funding but has totally repaid the startup loan.
At Tuesday's meeting County Board unanimously agreed to continue negotiating possible purchase of the facility "for fair market value, contingent on reaching an acceptable agreement with the Group Home Association related to juvenile placements."
Supervisor John Guarisco, who is a professional realtor, asked who will take care of maintaining the Crossroads buildings and grounds, and expressed doubt they will be able to determine fair market value without a professional appraisal.
Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison agreed those are very legitimate concerns. She said Advocates group does not want to own bricks and mortar. Health and Human Services Director Robin Elsner said they have an excellent record on providing juvenile care. He said they will maintain the grounds, and that will be part of the lease.
To some questions from Supervisor Al Mans, Elsner said the eventual purchase will come back to the full County Board. The Group Home Association wants out by June 15. He said the facility has space for eight juveniles and all the beds are filled. He has placements for two, if necessary, but would need to find space for the other six, "so we need to keep it operating." He said the Group Home Association wants to be out by Friday, June 15.
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