Longtime county social services
manager announces intent to retire
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 3:31 AM
Another longtime county employee, Gail Bunge, brought forth a request to resign after the New Year. The social services manager has been with the county for 33 years. All the commissioners expressed their thanks and appreciation for her service during the Sept. 24 regular board meeting.
Bunge expressed her gratitude for having served alongside many throughout the past three decades. "It's been a true honor and privilege to be in the role of community services. I acknowledge the community services staff, team members and all the county staff that have partnered with me," she said. Bunge told the board she would help with any transition needing to take place.
Commissioner Chuck Amunrud said Bunge had helped make the county's community services redesign work, which has driven costs down by 20 percent from 2010.
The conversation then turned toward how the county would address Bunge's replacement. Commissioner Chair Randy Dahl expressed that he was happy with how the county shared the community services director position with Winona County and thus needed a social services manager.
Amunrud agreed and said it was either replacing Bunge or coming up with something else.
Community Services Director Beth Wilms said it would be a good time to review the structure, but noted she couldn't speak for Winona County. "I think there should be dialogue with the Winona Board of Commissioners," she stated.
Dahl said he didn't think the county had the finances to have its own full-time director, so "it's not a question of taking apart what we put together. I think it has worked well."
The county would either hire a full-time director or continue to hire manager positions. The commissioners directed County Coordinator Karen Brown to talk with the Winona County commissioners chair about the workload for the different positions.
Commissioner Tom Kaase suggested the county come back with more information next week.
The board also had a discussion on whether or not they should advertise for a replacement PC/Network Technician after Kevin Kullot turned in his resignation, effective Oct. 3. Brown explained the position is the back-up systems administrator who performs day-to-day operations and user support specialist.
Sheriff Daryl Jensen said his department was concerned how the decrease in staff would impact them. He noted his department is undergoing many technology changes and wondered if only hiring a replacement would help down the road.
Brown agreed saying the county had become more dependent on technology.
Dahl asked the board if anyone wanted to change the position description. Amunrud said he felt the county should advertise for the position, but look at the bigger picture and see where the position should be.
A motion to advertise both internally and externally for the PC/Network Technician position was approved with the understanding that the department would be evaluated to see what job descriptions needed clarifying.
Flu vaccine, public health
Lantha Stevens shared information on the 2013 Seasonal Flu Vaccination Clinics being held throughout the county. According to a statement on the Fillmore County website, Stevens stated, "Fillmore County Public Health's goal is to vaccinate at least 700 community members as quickly as possible before flu season sets in in order to reduce illness." The vaccines cost $25 each. More information on eligibility for free vaccines can be found on the county's website.
Upcoming clinics include the following locations:
Lanesboro Elementary School-Media Center, Sept. 26, from 3:30 to 6:30.
Harmony Community Center, Oct. 2, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Mabel American Legion Post 299, Oct. 3, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Fillmore County Office Building, Preston, Oct. 7 and 8, from 12 to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. respectively.
Wykoff Community Center, Oct. 10, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
New equipment for measuring infants and adults for the Women Infant and Children (WIC) program was approved by the commissioners to be purchased for $811. The county will be reimbursed for the purchases.
An Adoption and Foster Care Recruitment grant totaling $2,784 was approved by the board. The grant will pay for the recruitment of relative adoptive and/or foster care parents for foster care children. The recruitment is done through web-based software.
The commissioners also handled the following issues during its meeting on Tuesday.
The board approved final payments for rock applications to nine county roads throughout the county. The total cost to the county was roughly $10,800. Commissioner Duane Bakke gave a highway committee update in which he said the total cost to the county from the June 23 flooding event would be approximately $350,000. This was lower than the original estimate. The state will fund 25 percent of that cost with the other 75 percent coming from FEMA. Bakke also said the guardrail issue near the Peterson Fish Hatchery would be resolved soon. The county commissioners plan on taking a county road tour in late October if possible. County Road 23 construction will begin on Oct. 27. Samples taken from County Road 24 show only small amounts of damage from a June 27 incident that involved two semi-trucks driving on the curing concrete.
Upon recommendation by County Zoning Officer Chris Graves, the board adopted Zoning Ordinance 737, which deals with Farm Wineries. Following a request by a couple looking to start one, an ordinance was drafted by the zoning office and planning commission. The ordinance would allow farm wineries to sell wine and wine-related items and host certain events. The ordinance relates only to producers of a minimum of 200 gallons per year and a maximum of 50,000 gallons. This would require them to secure a liquor license. Graves said the land on which farm wineries are located would remain in the agriculture district and not be moved to commercial. However, the owners would need to obtain conditional use permits for several ordinance-specified activities. Bakke said the ordinance would be good for tourism and economic development. Amunrud noted that the ordinance could be tweaked in the future.
The board also approved a conditional use permit for Aaron and Toni Kolling to install a 10 kilowatt wind tower on their property near Spring Valley. Any excess energy generated would be sold back to the local energy company.
Terry Schultz from Building Maintenance received approval for an $840 elevator inspection. There has been issues with the county getting charged a monthly fee, which Schultz said he would like to see go away since the elevator isn't used very much.
The board agreed to hold the transfer of land ceremony for the veterans' cemetery property at the same time as the groundbreaking ceremony, with the date yet to be determined.