space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Suring Struggles In Dual Meet With L-C, Collect 6 Total Wins
* Bulldogs Bounced By Marinette 7-6
* Marines Play To A 6-6 Tie Against Oconto
* Crivitz Ends Coleman's Winning Streak
* Peshtigo, Wausaukee Look To Rule M-O Softball

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
04-17-2014Sports
Suring Struggles In Dual Meet With L-C, Collect 6 Total Wins

04-17-2014Sports
Bulldogs Bounced By Marinette 7-6

04-17-2014Sports
Marines Play To A 6-6 Tie Against Oconto

04-17-2014Sports
Crivitz Ends Coleman's Winning Streak

04-17-2014Obituaries
Gloria R. Young

04-17-2014Obituaries
Maribeth Wunderlich

04-17-2014Obituaries
David W. Walker

04-17-2014Obituaries
Larry V. Pravechek

04-17-2014Obituaries
Gerald W. Polasky

04-17-2014
Dr. Randall W. Lewis

04-17-2014Obituaries
Alice A. Lentz

04-17-2014Obituaries
Hazel A. Krueger

04-17-2014Obituaries
Robert N. Kregel

04-17-2014Obituaries
Darrell N. Frisque

04-17-2014Obituaries
Claude E. Finnell

04-17-2014Obituaries
Eva A. Danz

04-17-2014Obituaries
Charolett Burton

04-17-2014Obituaries
Louis Bergles

04-17-2014Obituaries
Hazel A. Becker

04-17-2014Obituaries
Frank E. Partl

04-17-2014Obituaries
Ronald L. Nicklaus

04-17-2014Obituaries
Dean C. Krueger

04-17-2014Obituaries
Hans D. Krause

04-17-2014Obituaries
Wally E. Klatt

04-17-2014Obituaries
Colin John Kinziger

04-17-2014Obituaries
Ellsworth J. Johnson

04-17-2014Obituaries
Roy J. Jacques

04-17-2014Obituaries
Ruth M. Henschel

04-17-2014Obituaries
Harold A. Grandaw

04-17-2014Obituaries
Roxanne Geyer

04-17-2014Obituaries
Raymond A. Fechter

04-17-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

04-17-2014Perspectives
From our readers

04-17-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

04-17-2014News
SHS ‘56 Class Gathering Apr. 25

04-17-2014News
Gillett/Suring Clergy Cross Walk April 18

04-17-2014News
Grover School Takes Old Shoes

04-17-2014News
Lena KC To Hold Card Parties

04-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Hymn Sing at Wausaukee

04-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Lions to Clean Hwy. 180 April 26

04-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire, Rescue Discuss Picnic

04-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Seeks Planning Members

04-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Easter Egg Hunt April 19

04-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Easter Recess at Crivitz School

04-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church To Host Marian Day

04-17-2014Community - Crivitz
T/Stephenson Acts On DNR Lease, Road Bids

04-17-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman High School Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance

04-17-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board April 21

04-17-2014Community - Coleman
Lioness Raffle at Jiz’s Apr. 27

04-17-2014Community - Coleman
Pound Woman’s Club Announce Coming Events

04-17-2014Front Page
Marinette’s Main Street to Get More Beautification

04-17-2014Front Page
Malke is Peshtigo’s First Woman Mayor

04-17-2014Front Page
Schroeder, Just Again To Lead County Board

04-17-2014Front Page
BB Residents Keep Yards, Get 2-Foot Bike/Hike Paths

04-17-2014Front Page
SAVE 10

04-09-2014Front Page
Gov. Walker Signs Drug HOPE Bills In Marinette

04-09-2014Front Page
County Board to Reconsider County BB Project April 15

04-09-2014Front Page
Flood Alert For Porterfield Area

04-09-2014Front Page
Peshtigo Persons of Year Banquet April 13

04-09-2014Front Page
Marinette County Dispatch Gets 6,232 Calls in March

04-09-2014Sports
Peshtigo, Wausaukee Look To Rule M-O Softball

04-09-2014Sports
Second Place Finish In Shot For Huberty

04-09-2014Sports
Tough Opener For Marines, Fall Twice

04-09-2014Sports
Bulldogs Looking To Display Track Skills

04-09-2014Perspectives
From our readers

04-09-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

04-09-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

04-09-2014Community - Wausaukee
Winners in Final Benefit Card Party

04-09-2014Community - Wausaukee
Lions to Clean Hwy. 180 Apr. 26

04-09-2014Community - Wausaukee
“Let Me Be Frank” in Wausaukee Apr. 23

04-09-2014Community - Wausaukee
Hymn Sing at Wausaukee

04-09-2014Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Library Culver’s Contest

04-09-2014Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Teacher Receives Award

04-09-2014Community - Crivitz
National Library Week at Crivitz

04-09-2014Community - Crivitz
Rebel Grace Competes Again at Launchpad

04-09-2014Community - Coleman
Brazeau Fire Dept. Fundraiser April 12

04-09-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Board to Meet

04-09-2014Community - Coleman
Lioness Raffle at Jiz’s Apr. 27

04-09-2014Community - Coleman
North East Riders Host ATV Course

04-09-2014News
Animal Shelter Raffle May 3

04-09-2014News
Town Lake Sets Special Meeting

04-09-2014News
Legion Commander’s Dinner is April 12th

04-09-2014News
Lena FFA, Alumni Host Rabies Vaccination Clinic

04-09-2014Obituaries
Betty J. Walters

04-09-2014Obituaries
Lydia Squier

04-09-2014Obituaries
Mavis Rogge

04-09-2014Obituaries
John B. Orlando

04-09-2014Obituaries
Ronald J. Noack

04-09-2014Obituaries
Dorothy J. Lindner

04-09-2014Obituaries
Virginia M. Lange

04-09-2014Obituaries
Fred Jaeger, Jr.

04-09-2014Obituaries
F.H. Jabas

04-09-2014Obituaries
Janie Marie Hanner

04-09-2014Obituaries
Thomas Nelson Haag

04-09-2014Obituaries
Donna M. Fournier

04-09-2014Obituaries
Roger Erickson

04-09-2014Obituaries
Verna M. Dishaw

04-09-2014Obituaries
Loretta F. Carviou

04-09-2014Obituaries
Diane J. Broadwater

04-09-2014Obituaries
Hazel A. Becker

04-02-2014Front Page
Dog Rescued, Advises Residents Avoid Thin Ice

04-02-2014Front Page
Tuesday Vote Nets Light Turnout, Few Changes

04-02-2014Front Page
City Peshtigo Elects First Woman Mayor

04-02-2014Front Page
Wausaukee Board Seeks To Reward Performance

04-02-2014Front Page
Mining, Load Limit Laws Major Topics For WTA

04-02-2014Sports
Larsen, Berth Earn Post-Season Honors

04-02-2014Sports
Annual DNR Fish And Game Hearings, Deer Meetings Set

04-02-2014Sports
M-O Baseball Favorites Battle Weather Issues To Get Rolling

04-02-2014Sports
Fischer, Crivitz Shine In Opener

04-02-2014Perspectives
From our readers

04-02-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

04-02-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

04-02-2014Community - Wausaukee
Open House For New Sienna Van

04-02-2014Community - Wausaukee
Antique Appraisal at Library April 5

04-02-2014Community - Wausaukee
Village Seeks Vendors for Farmers Market

04-02-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Centennial Committee Apr. 7

04-02-2014Community - Crivitz
Legion Gun, Knife Show on May 3

04-02-2014Community - Crivitz
Legion Commander’s Dinner is April 12th

04-02-2014Community - Crivitz
Photos For A Cause Apr. 9, 10

04-02-2014Community - Crivitz
CBA Easter Egg Hunt is April 19

04-02-2014Community - Coleman
Summer T-Ball Registration Apr. 12

04-02-2014Community - Coleman
Faith Christian School Fundraiser Auction Apr. 5

04-02-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman ‘74 Class Plans Reunion

04-02-2014Community - Coleman
CHS Wrestling Banquet April 13

04-02-2014News
Coleman Benefit Meat Raffle

04-02-2014News
Coleman Legion Raffle Sept. 27

04-02-2014News
Legion To Give 3 Scholarships

04-02-2014News
SC Rescue, Fire, Offers Scholarship

04-02-2014Obituaries
Dorothy M. Wood

04-02-2014Obituaries
Peggy A. Wardecke

04-02-2014Obituaries
James C. Van Hefty

04-02-2014Obituaries
Dorothy Van De Ven

04-02-2014Obituaries
Ronald L. Valenta

04-02-2014Obituaries
Pearl C. Schwanz

04-02-2014Obituaries
Richard J. Schmidt

04-02-2014Obituaries
Mary A. Risner

04-02-2014Obituaries
Robert Pesmark

04-02-2014Obituaries
John B. Orlando

04-02-2014Obituaries
Jerrilyn Naffier

04-02-2014Obituaries
Lloyd R. Morris

04-02-2014Obituaries
Barb J. Micech

04-02-2014Obituaries
Mildred Metzler

04-02-2014Obituaries
Jeffery F. Marquardt Sr.

04-02-2014Obituaries
Allan R. Marcks

04-02-2014Obituaries
Gilberte R. Leslie

04-02-2014Obituaries
June Y. Lepianka

04-02-2014Obituaries
Alden A. Le Fave

04-02-2014Obituaries
Marc E. Laurent

04-02-2014Obituaries
Charlotte King

04-02-2014Obituaries
Chester W. Johnson Jr.


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Should the United States take a tough stand against Russia in Ukraine?
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
© 2000-2014
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites