Fillmore County's commissioners met with an hour-long agenda, closing the weekly meeting at the end of the hour to deal with union negotiations.

Fillmore County coordinator Bobbie Vickerman presented the resignation of full-time custodian Doug Marin, and the board accepted his resignation with thanks for his dedication to the county, going on to authorize the hiring of a replacement from the pool of candidates compiled in October 2013.

Vickerman assured the commissioners that a temporary part-time custodian was offered the position, but related the employee turned it down.

Next, an eligibility worker was hired, and the commissioners proceeded to hear more business, including the 2014 pay equity compliance audit - which the county passed on all levels.

The commissioners also granted Vickerman permission to pursue a coordinators' training session and approved a resolution for applying for a grant for the county's solid waste management.

However, having addressed these items on the agenda, Commissioner Tom Kaase questioned the hiring and background check process used for hiring new staff. He asked of Vickerman, "The person we just hired - did you review the background check?"

The coordinator answered that she did not, but that human resources officer Kristina Kohn had.

Kaase commented, "Where I work, we've got a number of people who look at these before someone is hired, and often, someone sees something that someone else didn't. Isn't the background check done by law enforcement?"

Chairman Chuck Amunrud suggested, "Maybe a background check should go to the personnel committee. Just another set of eyes...you would think that the hiring committee would look at it when it comes back."

Vickerman stated she feels that a review of the entire hiring policy might be in order as a way to make sure that hiring practices are followed well.

Kaase then introduced the matter of background checks in county hiring to Sheriff Daryl Jensen, who came to the meeting to offer his report. Kaase inquired if law enforcement can review job applications and background checks.

Jensen responded that the department can handle its own staff hiring, but not other departments' hiring.

He pointed out that while criminal history reports can be obtained through the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the sheriff's department checks local records before hiring its staff.

Jensen added anomalies in a job application, submitted by someone who has lived outside of Minnesota, are most often caught through checking references.

He added Kohn could become trained in conducting citizens' criminal histories, but that she would be part of an audit process if she were to do so.

Kaase stated, "I think the issue is that one person collects and assesses a hire and gives it to the board as successful."

Jensen agreed that the background check process has changed over the 35 years he's been a county employee, as references used to be checked "by knocking on doors."

Sheriff's report

Jensen then shared an update on the National Take Back Initiative (NTBI) held Saturday, April 26, to collect unwanted prescription drugs.

"The last time we got 100 pounds, and we did some other things this year - KFIL was helpful, and some communities put flyers in the utility bills - and it was interesting, because I kept getting text messages from my deputies that they didn't have enough boxes, and that was in the first hour," he said. "We got 220 pounds, an amazing response. I'm real pleased that we got old and new stuff...it goes to the incinerator tomorrow. The DEA pays for the disposal."

Amunrud commented, "The long view would be that we actually saved some lives."

Jensen added, "The less that's flushed, the fewer seven-legged frogs we find."

The board also approved allowing Jensen to send a 2007 oil-guzzling squad car to public auction and provided funding approval for the purchase of a digital in-car camera for the squad car the sheriff's department bought in March.

Other business

In zoning business, county zoning officer Chris Graves asked that the commissioners grant permission to Brothers Farmland, L.L.P., in Bloomfield Township and to Ty and Dacia Bestor in Bristol Township for access permits, both which were accepted.

County Director of Nursing Lantha Stevens brought forward a ratification statement and payment for Xerox State and Local Solutions, Inc., and the Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative - the board passed a motion allowing the payment of $19,084 for April 1, 2014 through March 2015.

Lastly, the consent agenda included granting a merit increase for social worker Elizabeth Fuglestad.