Mitchell County Commissioners

Monday, June 17, 2014

By Terry Bailey


The meeting was called to order with Commissioners Jim Marshall and Tom Claussen present. Commissioner Mike Cooper was absent.


Jim Marshall, chairperson of the Commissioners, opened the regular weekly meeting by announcing that a new Mitchell Health nurse had been selected. Courtney Murrow, currently a staff nurse at Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems, had been chosen from several good and well-qualified candidates. Murrow has a Bachelors Degree in Nursing Science. She and her husband, Luke, live south of the Hazeltine Junction where they farm.

Marshall also announced that Becky Davies, Kristen Kadel, Gayle Haney and Sue Hoestje (hutch-ee) were of great help in the interview and selection process. Their expertise in the field of nursing was invaluable in measuring the candidate’s qualifications. Murrow will begin employment on July seventh which will allow her to give her employer ample notification.

Becky Schaefer, Director of Communications, informed the Commissioners that a repeater in the Hunter-Tipton area was not working. When the repair service providers located the repeater, they discovered that one module was totally burnt up and a second one was burnt almost as bad. The repair bill to get the repeater back to operating condition was nine hundred dollars.

Schaefer then told the Commissioners that both CAD computers used in their dispatch are old and run only Windows XP. The State has made changes to their programs and these new programs do not recognize the XP operating system. “If we want to continue to interface with the State programs, we need to replace the five year old units we currently have,” said Schaefer. “I would like to have permission to get bids to replace the old XP units,” she added. She also told the commissioners that she had money in her budget to replace the old units. She and the commissioners discussed the possibility of local vendors since the computers run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Immediacy of service is very important.

Public Works Superintendent Larry Emerson reported the mowing of ditches had begun. The recent rains will keep them busy mowing to stay ahead of the weeds.

Emerson had a Federal Funds Exchange grant application form for all three of the Commissioners to sign

Emerson said eight people had picked up application forms for the truck driver job and only four had been returned.

A fifteen minute executive session was requested by Emerson to discuss non-elected personnel. When the regular meeting resumed, it was announced that no decisions had been made.

Representatives from OCCK were on hand to discuss request for funds for the year 2015. Sheila Nelson-Stout the President and CEO of OCCK was accompanied by Lorraine Harris, vice-president and COO and Patrick Wallerius (waller-us), vice-president and CFO.

Nelson-Stout reported that this will be the forty-fifth year that OCCK and Mitchell County have worked together to provide services for those in need. Their request is for forty-eight thousand five hundred thirty-five dollars. This is the same amount requested last year so there is no increase requested.

A general discussion regarding KAN-CARE then took place. Medicaid has been privatized and KAN-CARE oversees three vendors are doing what one vendor did previously. It appears there are many challenges with the new system that were unexpected.

Nelson-Stout summed up the concerns saying, “We never want to put profits ahead of our share holders.”

Melinda Latham, County Appraiser, requested a ten minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. When the regular session resumed it was announced no decisions had been made.

County Clerk Chris Treaster announced that there is a definite need for election board workers. She noted that the jobs only pay minimum wages but people gain a wealth of understanding in the operation of our greatest right – the right to vote.

Commissioner Tom Claussen asked Treaster about voting procedures for Mitchell County residents who are serving in the military. Treaster said that all military personnel should have access to a military application for voting wherever they are serving. She also noted that anyone can vote by email but in doing so they need to be aware they are abdicating their right to a secret ballot.

Having dispensed with all the business of the County before them, the meeting adjourned.

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