space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Letter To The Editor
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Cougar Students Teach Faculty a Tough Lesson
* Dunlap Sets Tone at State Powerlifting Competition
* Lake Noquebay Sportsman's Begin Youth Trap League
* Big 3 on 3 Crivitz Classic on April 1, 2
* M&O ALL CONFERENCE WRESTLING

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Personnel Okays Assistant Communications Director

To have him as the sole person responsible for operation of this 24/7 department without backup is unconscionable! Marinette County Administrator Ellen Sorensen told the Marinette County Personnel and Veterans Service Committee on Friday, Jan. 11. They had just been informed that Communications Director Terry Zimmerman, head of the county’s 911 Emergency Dispatch Center, has been working for over seven years without backup. Committee action to rectify that situation by approving an assistant administrator position, effective immediately, upon approval of County Board was prompt and unanimous.

Sorensen said her recommendation to eliminate one dispatcher position and replace it with a new Assistant Communications Director position was not just about department heads being able to take occasional time off without worrying about departmental responsibilities, although that is important. It was more about having continuity of service, a backup person who understands the department and can take over when necessary, she said.

She referred to Pete Vilas, former Assistant Forest Administrator, who recently was named to replace Forestry, Parks and Land Administrator John Scott, who retired on Jan. 1. She said that sort of backup and promotion from within is ideal, and is possible because Vilas was trained as assistant administrator. Later in the meeting she reported that Vilas’ transition into the top position in his department is going well.

In the case of 911 Dispatch, which responds to calls for help from all emergency service providers in the entire county - Sheriff’s Department, municipal police departments, fire departments, and emergency rescue squads - continuity of service is absolutely critical, Sorensen declared. She also said it is important for administrators to have occasional breaks from their responsibilities, which Zimmerman has not had because there is no one trained to take over when he is gone.

Zimmerman said on a recent two week vacation there was not a single day that he did not get a call requiring him to handle one crisis or another on his department. For example, if someone calls in sick, they need to call in a replacement promptly. Maybe at 3 a.m. on an icy Tuesday night in the middle of winter, we can get away with two dispatchers on duty instead of three, but not otherwise, Zimmerman declared.

Supervisor Ken Keller, who chairs the Law Enforcement Committee, asked if there had been previous requests for a backup administrator that had been turned down. Zimmerman said he had asked, but I don’t think it made it past my supervisor. Keller did not recall ever receiving such a request.

Keller explained that in the past the dispatch service had been under the Sheriff’s Department, and was supervised by the Sheriff. It later became a separate department.

Supervisor Nick Lakari asked to what extent, if any, the new assistant administrator is expected to carry out the regular dispatch duties they now handle, and wondered if the department can manage with one of the current people working part time as a dispatcher and part time as assistant department head.

Zimmerman said it should work out. He expects the person selected as second in command will work side by side with the other dispatchers about fifty percent of the time once initial training is over.

The Assistant Director will be a working dispatcher and perform supervisory duties in the absence of the Communications Director. Additional duties on the job description include assisting in preparing the department schedule and budget. Job functions will include hiring and training employees, enforcing policies and procedures, conducting disciplinary meetings, providing work direction, share on-call responsibilities with the director, performing dispatch duties, and assure care and custody of all county property and facilities associated with the job.

The committee also approved eliminating a seasonal Forest Equipment Operator position for the Forestry Department and replacing it with a full time position, also effective upon County Board approval. There will be some extra cost, but the full time position was already provided in the 2013 budget. However, apparently health and dental insurance costs were not put in the budget, so there will be additional costs ranging between $10,458 to $31,410, depending on the plan selected.

Sorensen said not only is there plenty of work to be done in the County Forest and on other county lands, but the new full time position requires a Commercial Driver’s License and the person hired will provide backup for the Highway Department for winter snow plowing. She said when the position is filled the department will have four full time equipment operators plus a working foreman who also holds a CDL, which means there are five operators available to help the Highway Department with plowing in winter, and plenty of work for them to do when it does not snow. The job has to be posted because they are going from a seasonal to a full time employee.

Several changes to staffing connected with restructuring of the Health and Human Services Department were approved as recommended by Administrator Robin Elsner. An Economic Support Worker position will be eliminated. Elsner said they have 11 and now because of some changes they need only 10. Supervisor Ken Casper asked if anyone will be laid off and Elsner said no, someone who retired will not be replaced. Sorensen commented it is her philosophy whenever anyone retires or is laid off to look at how the department can be restructured to eliminate the position if possible.

Also being eliminated is a clerical account clerk position in the Job Center, effective immediately, that has been vacant since the former backup receptionist retired in 2012. State Job Center personnel are providing backup support to the front desk, so Elsner believes the position is no longer needed.

In another sector of Human Services Department reorganization connected with moving into the new Aging Resources Division, the committee approved eliminating a long-term case manager for the elderly/physically disabled long term services unit. That position also is currently vacant and will not be re-filled.

The committee approved creation of a 13-week limited term mental health therapist position for the Niagara Clinic, effective immediately. This should result in no cost to the county or may even generate more income than it costs.

Elsner said the current therapist at Niagara works 40 hours a week, but the wait for a follow-up appointment is six to eight weeks. Elsner said people in crisis are seen promptly, but there is basically no follow up. After the initial 90-day trial period Elsner will evaluate the position to decide if it should be made full time. Sorensen said this position also serves Florence County on a contract basis, and Marinette County bills them for the services.

Sorensen reported she is working on department head evaluations and other projects requested by the Executive Committee last fall, and is monitoring mid-level management with an eye to ensuring the availability of qualified successors.

In his exit interview a retiring county department head somewhat reluctantly pointed out that retiring managers do not have access to dental insurance. He asked if they could be given an option to purchase dental insurance, perhaps by offering unused sick days as an incentive. There was a suggestion to find a way to do partial VEBA for non-rep employees, which could eliminate misuse of sick leave, perhaps allowing conversion of even 25 percent of sick time as an option.

She is working on developing a Medical Examiner position, Sorensen said, adding that Brown and Oconto Counties want to develop a regional Medical Examiner service, and she is looking into that, along with other ways to partner on services.

For example, she said they are looking at the possibility of having librarians at the branch libraries throughout the county sell things like firewood, camping and firewood harvest permits, county park reservations and the like so people do not need to drive all the way to Marinette.

Sorensen said the telephone service auditors have told her they found numerous spots for savings on telephone costs, and she was to have a phone interview with them the following week.

Bills included a charge from WERC (Wisconsin Employment Relations commission) for the services of an independent hearing examiner.

On a lighter note, Sorensen reported Health and Human Services employees held a potluck in December and Land Information had one for the Packer playoffs.

Human Resources Director Jennifer Holtger reported forklift training offered through the Department of Commerce is the January safety topic for county employees.

Holtger said she received a call from the county’s Workman’s Comp insurance carrier saying last year was a pretty good one for the county in terms of employee injuries, and this year is off to a good start. County employees reported eight injuries in December and so far in January, three that required medical attention and four that involved only reports. The accidents that required medical attention included a facial gash, sore knuckles and a sore or swollen right hip and left knee. There were no lost-time injuries.

They have been taking steps to prevent injuries, including holding a Highway Safety Day for the first time, with training help from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

And they will have one every year from now on! Sorensen added. We owe it to our Highway employees to give them the safest work environment possible.

I had a ‘proud mama’ moment the other day, Holtger said, telling of driving through a highway construction area where signs were properly posted well in advance and safety equipment and practices were being properly used. They’re really on their toes, they know what they’re doing over there, she declared.

Holtger said she continues to work on uniform job descriptions, and is confident she can get the Highway Department down to three or four in preparation for the Wipfli wage study. Cost of wage/salary ratings through Wipfli, a nationally prominent CPA firm, is $300 to $350 per job description, so it is important to get the number narrowed down. The study is intended to help the county set comparable compensation for comparable jobs in all county departments.

Holtger reported newly hired county employees include a long term services case manager and a child protective services ongoing social worker for the Health and Human Services Department. A person hired to fill a state patrol/bridge tender position with the Highway Department worked for one day and then resigned, Holtger reported.

Since the last committee meeting two county employees resigned and one retired.

County Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison reported there are some changes that should be made to formal county policies and procedures to bring them into line with what is actually being done, but there are so many issues remaining to be settled as a result of some new Wisconsin state policies.

I feel it’s crazy to bring you one or two sentences at a time , Mattison said, adding she prefers to wait until the judge’s decision comes in regarding employee unions and recertification, and the question, are there really unions that exist now? is answered.

Marinette County is following the lead of 35 other counties and has asked the WERC to clarify these issues and the regulations that go with them, including union certification, Mattison said.

Unless there is an emergency, the committee will not meet in February. The next meeting was set for 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 8, in the Jury Room at the Courthouse.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
03-22-2017Sports
Cougar Students Teach Faculty a Tough Lesson

03-22-2017Sports
Dunlap Sets Tone at State Powerlifting Competition

03-22-2017Sports
Lake Noquebay Sportsman's Begin Youth Trap League

03-22-2017Sports
Big 3 on 3 Crivitz Classic on April 1, 2

03-22-2017Perspectives
Letter To The Editor

03-22-2017Perspectives
Letter To The Editor

03-22-2017Perspectives
Letter To The Editor

03-22-2017Obituaries
Vernon L. Anderle

03-22-2017Perspectives
Letter To The Editor

03-22-2017Obituaries
Leonard A. Boknevitz, Jr.

03-22-2017Obituaries
Steven J. Byng

03-22-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin - Welcome Spring!...

03-22-2017Obituaries
Phyllis D. Ermis

03-22-2017Obituaries
Elaine Gaertig

03-22-2017Obituaries
Cletus O. Horack

03-22-2017Obituaries
Dege K. Hurzeler

03-22-2017Perspectives
From My Window - Welcome Spring

03-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
Town of Wausaukee Takes Truck, Road Bids

03-22-2017Obituaries
Yvonne M. Johnson

03-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
Town Wagner Needs Outside Burn Permits

03-22-2017Obituaries
Charles V. Johnston

03-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
Town of Athelstane to Purchase 2006 Chassis

03-22-2017Obituaries
Martin W. Keller

03-22-2017Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire, Rescue to Offer Scholarship

03-22-2017Obituaries
James F. Johnston

03-22-2017Obituaries
Bonnie J. Reinke-Kelsey

03-22-2017Community - Crivitz
Benefit for Special Needs Children at Crivitz Apr. 1

03-22-2017Obituaries
Beverly E. Kempke

03-22-2017Obituaries
Rebecca M. Kuehnel

03-22-2017Community - Crivitz
Free Car Seat Safety Inspections at Crivitz Rescue

03-22-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School Kids Running Club

03-22-2017Obituaries
Robert L. Ledger Sr.

03-22-2017Community - Crivitz
CRA/CBA Annual Banquet at Gateway

03-22-2017Obituaries
Charles M. LeMay

03-22-2017Obituaries
Gary Lemery

03-22-2017Community - Coleman
Lions Club Annual Pancake Brunch Apr. 9

03-22-2017Obituaries
Jorden M. Lycan

03-22-2017Community - Coleman
Karl Zeitler Memorial Fundraiser for K-9 Dogs

03-22-2017Obituaries
Donald N. Maas

03-22-2017Obituaries
Edith B. Mueller

03-22-2017Community - Coleman
GreenStone Returns $33 Million to Members

03-22-2017Obituaries
Therese Y. Nelson 

03-22-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Youth Wrestling Recognition Night Mar. 28

03-22-2017Obituaries
Glenn J. Paul

03-22-2017Obituaries
Louis Piszor

03-22-2017Obituaries
Jacqueline S. Polzin

03-22-2017Front Page
Town of Goodman Awarded M&M Grant

03-22-2017Obituaries
Cheryl A. Shampo

03-22-2017Obituaries
Albertus South, Jr.

03-22-2017Obituaries
Dorothy M. Sprangers

03-22-2017Obituaries
Jeremy C. Sutrick

03-22-2017Front Page
County Considers Loan For Marinette Project

03-22-2017Front Page
Peshtigo Okays Raises, Awards Town Audit Bid

03-22-2017Front Page
Only One Water Main Freeze-Up This Winter

03-22-2017Front Page
County Board To Air Options For Civic Center Financing

03-15-2017Sports
M&O ALL CONFERENCE WRESTLING

03-15-2017Sports
WIAA Post-Season

03-15-2017Sports
Freshman Standout Tops"M&O Voting

03-15-2017Sports
M&O All-Conference Basketball

03-15-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin

03-15-2017Perspectives
From our readers

03-15-2017Perspectives
From My Window

03-15-2017Obituaries
Jennie Beyersdorf

03-15-2017Obituaries
Clarence R. Bjorkman

03-15-2017Obituaries
Nancy Bloom

03-15-2017Obituaries
Michael J. Brooks

03-15-2017Obituaries
Joan M. Bruce

03-15-2017Obituaries
Dr. Wayne A. Covioux

03-15-2017Obituaries
Arnold M. DeClark

03-15-2017Obituaries
Norman J. DeCremer

03-15-2017Obituaries
Lillian J. Diamond

03-15-2017Obituaries
Jane C. Ebert

03-15-2017Obituaries
Anton Gnand

03-15-2017Obituaries
Janet A. Hansen

03-15-2017Obituaries
Joan E. Johnson 

03-15-2017Obituaries
Raymond G. Kelley

03-15-2017Obituaries
Elsie M. Koller

03-15-2017Obituaries
Brenda S. LaGassie

03-15-2017Obituaries
Joseph "Joe" Lopez

03-15-2017Obituaries
Tom Matel

03-15-2017Obituaries
Lillian M. Miller

03-15-2017Obituaries
Sister Virginia Neja

03-15-2017Obituaries
Mari A. Osten

03-15-2017Obituaries
June Pauls

03-15-2017Obituaries
Elaine A. Pfaff

03-15-2017Obituaries
Donald J. Rabideau

03-15-2017Obituaries
Evelyn R. Schreiner

03-15-2017Obituaries
Helen F. Smith

03-15-2017Obituaries
Gerald W. Theuerkauf

03-15-2017Community - Wausaukee
Worship Leaders at Presbyterian Churches

03-15-2017Community - Wausaukee
Students Forum for Board Candidates

03-15-2017Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire, Rescue to Offer Scholarship

03-15-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Students At Global Youth Summit

03-15-2017Community - Crivitz
Unit 66 To Host ALA Conference

03-15-2017Community - Crivitz
State KC Big Raffle Drawing April 29

03-15-2017Community - Crivitz
CRA/CBA Annual Awards Banquet Apr. 10

03-15-2017Community - Crivitz
Town of Stephenson Okay Well Testing Contract Hike

03-15-2017Community - Coleman
Suring School Board Hears "Our Family" Report

03-15-2017Community - Coleman
Village of Coleman Sets T-Ball Signup Times

03-15-2017Community - Coleman
Pound Church Meals, Worship

03-15-2017Community - Coleman
Equity Park Craft Fair, Flea Market on June 17

03-15-2017Front Page
Extensive Damage to Porterfield Home

03-15-2017Front Page
Pound Has Slight Hope Sex Offenders Won't Move In

03-15-2017Front Page
Citizens Committee Addresses Peshtigo School Board Meeting

03-15-2017Front Page
Parks and Forestry Discusses Possible New ATV Campground

03-15-2017Front Page
Riverside Cemetery Board To Propose Changes In By-Laws

03-08-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Needs Plan Commission Members

03-08-2017Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane/Silver Cliff ALA Offers $1000 Scholarship

03-08-2017Community - Wausaukee
Card Series Benefit at Wagner Hall

03-08-2017Community - Wausaukee
State KC Big Raffle Drawing April 29

03-08-2017Community - Crivitz
Woman's Club Meeting Mar. 16

03-08-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Gun Show Mar. 11

03-08-2017Community - Crivitz
Blood Drive at Crivitz Mar. 16

03-08-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Youth Baseball, Softball Registration

03-08-2017Community - Coleman
Child Development Day at Lena Mar. 31

03-08-2017Community - Coleman
Lena KC Council Names Family, Persons of Month

03-08-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Board Mar. 13

03-08-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board Adopts 2017-18 Calendar

03-08-2017Sports
Board Approves New Carcass Tag Procedure

03-08-2017Sports
STATE BOWLING

03-08-2017Sports
Division 3 WIAA Playoffs

03-08-2017Sports
Division 4 & 5 WIAA Playoffs

03-08-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin

03-08-2017Perspectives
From our readers

03-08-2017Perspectives
From our readers

03-08-2017Perspectives
From My Window

03-08-2017Obituaries
Thomas W. Bashford

03-08-2017Obituaries
Alice V. Bauer

03-08-2017Obituaries
Jessica M. Baumann

03-08-2017Obituaries
Judith A. Beyer

03-08-2017Obituaries
Romayne N. Brundage

03-08-2017Obituaries
Donald Falash

03-08-2017Obituaries
Mary J. Fleischman

03-08-2017Obituaries
Dolores H. Klussendorf

03-08-2017Obituaries
Jim A. Nesberg

03-08-2017Obituaries
Alton P. Peterson

03-08-2017Obituaries
Lorin Philipps

03-08-2017Obituaries
Karen A. Pillsbury

03-08-2017Obituaries
Ruth E. Pleshek

03-08-2017Obituaries
Gloria J. Putzkie

03-08-2017Obituaries
Frances M. Reed

03-08-2017Obituaries
Betty J. Sadowsky

03-08-2017Obituaries
Jeannine T. Smith

03-08-2017Obituaries
Glenn Stansfield

03-08-2017Obituaries
Bradley Teasdale

03-08-2017Obituaries
Raymond Valley

03-08-2017Obituaries
Martha Walk

03-08-2017Obituaries
Michael A. Wesolowski

03-08-2017Front Page
Winds Cause Widespread Power Outages In Area

03-08-2017Front Page
Sheriff: Drug Deaths Down, Jail Overcrowding Is Issue


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Now that Donald Trump is in office, should he stop tweeting as President?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2017
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites