space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* WIAA Crowns Four State Spring Baseball Champions
* Multiple Marines Awarded Spring Post-Season Honors
* Bulldogs Picked for Packerland Honors In Three Spring Sports
* Little River Hosts Fathers Day Scramble
* Marinette/Menominee Open Summer Seasons with Wins

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

Issue Date: January 16, 2013

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
06-22-2018Sports
WIAA Crowns Four State Spring Baseball Champions

06-22-2018
Peshtigo High School softball team members, Madi Martin and Shae Tonn were chosen to play in the Division 2/3 game held on June 12

06-21-2018Front Page
Marinette County Breakfast on the Farm is June 24th

06-21-2018Front Page
Kass Resigns County Finance Director Post

06-21-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Police Chief Resigns, Moving Back To Michigan

06-21-2018Front Page
Infrastructure Committee Wants To Move Back To Peshtigo Shop

06-21-2018Front Page
Kiosk At Riverside Cemetery To Help Identify Grave Sites

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
CHS 1943-65 Class Reunion is July 15th

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
Car Show Vendor Deadline June 25

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
Library To Host Ice Cream Social

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Youth Basketball Camp

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz VFW Post 2063 Meets

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
Ice Cream Social at Crivitz June 28

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
Camp Bird Event is June 20-22

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
M&M Area Foundation Helps Fund School Supplies

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Jose Honored as Legionnaire of Year

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane/Silver Cliff Legion Post 66 To Meet June 23

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Harvest Dinner at Presbyterian Church

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Blood Drive at Silver Cliff Rescue

06-21-2018Obituaries
Shirley J. Behnke

06-21-2018Obituaries
Eunice R. Borst

06-21-2018Obituaries
Betty M. Dettloff

06-21-2018Obituaries
June E. Diercks

06-21-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth L. Downs

06-21-2018Obituaries
Edith Franzen

06-21-2018Obituaries
Edna M. Garon

06-21-2018Obituaries
Mary Louise Gauld

06-21-2018Obituaries
Thomas A. Gilligan

06-21-2018Obituaries
Mary C. Gocht

06-21-2018Obituaries
Peggy Madden

06-21-2018Obituaries
Gerald F. Wescher

06-21-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

06-21-2018Perspectives
From My Window

06-21-2018Perspectives
From our Readers

06-21-2018Sports
Multiple Marines Awarded Spring Post-Season Honors

06-21-2018Sports
Bulldogs Picked for Packerland Honors In Three Spring Sports

06-21-2018
Martin/Tonn Play in WFSCA All Star Game

06-21-2018Sports
Little River Hosts Fathers Day Scramble

06-14-2018Front Page
Coleman Annexes Property For Cheese Factory Project

06-14-2018Front Page
Pound Fireman's Picnic, Car Show Both In June

06-14-2018Front Page
Environmental Groups Pledge To Continue Back Forty Fight

06-14-2018Front Page
PFAS Found At Tyco Stanton Street Facility

06-14-2018Front Page
Grover Residents Advised To Keep Fire Signs Visible

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
Renovation Tour On Coleman School Board June 18 Agenda

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
Village Pound Car Show is June 30th

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
Continue to Feature Cougar Walls of Fame

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
4th Annual Craft, Vendor Fair at Equity Park June 16

06-14-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Junior High Students Attain Honors

06-14-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Run for Recovery

06-14-2018
Ice Cream Social at Crivitz June 28

06-14-2018Community - Crivitz
Monthly CPR Class at Crivitz Clinic

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Announces 4th Quarter Honor Roll

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
Alee Aragon Addresses Auxiliary

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Back to School Program Receives $3,000

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
WBA Sponsors Farmers Market

06-14-2018Sports
Marinette/Menominee Open Summer Seasons with Wins

06-14-2018
Area Golfers Receive GCAW Academic All State Honors

06-14-2018Sports
Five High Schools Claim WIAA State Softball Titles

06-14-2018Sports
Busy Season For Marinette Parks & Rec & Public Works

06-14-2018Perspectives
From My Window

06-14-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

06-14-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

06-07-2018Sports
WIAA Softball State Tourney Starts June 7

06-07-2018Sports
Area Golfers Battle Through Tough State Course

06-07-2018Sports
Peshtigo's Rauch Captures D2 State Pole Vault Title

06-07-2018Sports
Coleman/Wausaukee Bow Out In Sectionals

06-07-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

06-07-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

06-07-2018Perspectives
From My Window

06-07-2018Obituaries
Richard L. Dantinne

06-07-2018Obituaries
Mildred Donlevy 

06-07-2018Obituaries
Clara (Wasmund) Druckrey

06-07-2018Obituaries
John F. Egofske

06-07-2018Obituaries
Dixie K. Gard

06-07-2018Obituaries
Lila M. Hallada

06-07-2018Obituaries
Myron C. Klika

06-07-2018Obituaries
Donald D. Kroening

06-07-2018Obituaries
Kent W. Lantow

06-07-2018Obituaries
John W. Lesniak

06-07-2018Obituaries
Marsha A. Lindgren

06-07-2018Obituaries
Beth M. Mireau

06-07-2018Obituaries
Bonnie R. Berton-Neumeyer

06-07-2018Obituaries
Nancy J. Prange

06-07-2018Obituaries
Bruce E. Ranzinger

06-07-2018Obituaries
Ellen M. Raygo

06-07-2018Obituaries
Kathryn Schahczinski

06-07-2018Obituaries
Russell L. Schwartz

06-07-2018Obituaries
Kenneth J. VanDreel

06-07-2018Obituaries
John P. Wingers

06-07-2018Obituaries
Leonard F. Wirkus

06-07-2018Community - Wausaukee
Church Rummage Sale/Cook Out

06-07-2018Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire-Rescue to Plan Picnic

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Class of 1988 Reunion on Aug. 18

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Ice Cream Social at Crivitz June 28

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Meeting for Girl Scouts at Crivitz

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Woman's Club Pop-Up Sale

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Village Pound Car Show is June 30th

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Fire Picnic Dates June 15-16

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Board To Meet

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Schools List Summer Office Hours

06-07-2018Front Page
New Brazeau Building Honors Elizabeth Washebek

06-07-2018Front Page
Final Permit Issued For Back Forty Mine

06-07-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Council Approves 1% Hike In Water Rates

06-07-2018Front Page
Late Season Snow Blamed For City Recreation Issues

06-07-2018Front Page
Town Peshtigo Airs Road, Billing Issues

05-31-2018Perspectives
From My Window

05-31-2018Sports
Rangers/Badgers Face Off in Regional Final Today

05-31-2018Sports
Rangers Are Last Team Standing on Tournament Trail

05-31-2018Sports
Area Athletes Head To State Meet In LaCrosse

05-31-2018Sports
Peshtigo Takes Perfect Record To State

05-31-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-31-2018Obituaries
Earl J. Alsteen

05-31-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth L. Anglehart

05-31-2018Obituaries
James A. Benesh

05-31-2018Obituaries
Paul R. Berntson

05-31-2018Obituaries
Dale R. Borneman

05-31-2018Obituaries
Robert F. Brown, Jr.

05-31-2018Obituaries
Norman Buhrandt

05-31-2018Obituaries
Roberta C. Couillard

05-31-2018Obituaries
Richard Deschaine

05-31-2018Obituaries
Karen and Dennis Fry

05-31-2018Obituaries
Raymond A. Gorman

05-31-2018Obituaries
Glenn G. Harris

05-31-2018Obituaries
Charles W. Hatton 

05-31-2018Obituaries
Stella M. Horvath

05-31-2018Obituaries
Patricia A. Johnston

05-31-2018Obituaries
Sandra S. Kasik

05-31-2018Obituaries
Carol L. Klein

05-31-2018Obituaries
Arlie K. Manning

05-31-2018Obituaries
Patrice L. Messenger

05-31-2018Obituaries
Laurie Nicklaus

05-31-2018Obituaries
Helen M. Peterson

05-31-2018Obituaries
Rita Peterson

05-31-2018Obituaries
Jacqueline Rudolph

05-31-2018Obituaries
Gertrude Tetzlaff

05-31-2018Obituaries
William M. Thierling

05-31-2018Obituaries
Joy M. Van Hecke

05-31-2018Obituaries
Daniel D. VanHoff

05-31-2018Obituaries
Ramon G. Varrientos

05-31-2018Obituaries
Leonard J. Williams

05-31-2018Community - Wausaukee
Seven Red Cross Scholarship Winners

05-31-2018Community - Wausaukee
 Wausuakee Lions Big Cash Raffle

05-31-2018Community - Wausaukee
WBA Farmers Market New Location This Year

05-31-2018Community - Crivitz
Sports Awards Winners At Crivitz High School

05-31-2018
NE WI Kids Fishing Outing July 7 at Laona

05-31-2018Community - Crivitz
Lions Golf Scramble at Crivitz June 2nd

05-31-2018Community - Crivitz
De Smidt's Awards Four Scholarships

05-31-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Village Board June 4

05-31-2018Community - Coleman
4th Annual Craft, Vendor Fair at Equity Park June 16

05-31-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Fire Dept. Picnic July 15-16


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you think the Green Bay Packers will make it to the Super Bowl this year.
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
© 2000-2018
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites