Houston County Sheriff Doug Ely reported on countywide drug enforcement efforts during 2012 at the Feb. 26 Houston County board meeting.

All local police departments are included in the document, he stated, including the Minnesota Drug Task Force.

Twenty-seven cases were investigated to completion. Thirty search warrants were executed. Forty-four persons were cited, referred or arrested.

Drug seizures included 31.5 grams of cocaine, 16.5 grams of methamphetamine, 50 marijuana plants, 3.6 pounds of packaged marijuana, 425 prescription pills, 10 grams of mushrooms, 2 grams of heroin and .5 gram of LSD.

First-degree controlled substance cases numbered three for the year. Forty-three out of 44 persons arrested claimed residency in Houston County. One meth lab was shut down.

Commissioners institute changes

The board added the pledge of allegiance to the start of its weekly meetings. Another change is establishing Robert's Rules of Order at meetings. Chair Justin Zmyewski stated that a local authority on the system will probably teach board members about Robert's Rules toward the end of March.

The board voted to begin posting the minutes of the county's Human Services monthly meetings on the Houston County website, once they have been approved by commissioners.

Members also tested the "panic button" alarm system for their meeting room.

Public Comment period added

In addition, the board added a public comment period to the agenda with citizens allowed two minutes per person to speak on any subject. The board will not take any action on the matters raised at that meeting.

Yvonne Krogstad of rural Spring Grove was the first person to use the time.

She noted that when the county attorney is refused from working on an issue due to conflict of interest concerns, the county has to "pay double" to bring in a replacement.

Krogstad said that since the county attorney is already paid a salary, they should be responsible to reimburse the county in some manner for that added cost, either in a cash exchange or possibly an hourly exchange.

The board made no comment on this matter.

Personnel training scheduled

Human Resources Director Tess Kruger reported that employee assistance program training will be offered for Human Services employees, beginning with the executive team.

Provided through the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT), the training will be offered from vendor Sand Creek Group.

"In addition to doing employee assistance, they also do executive counseling. Linda (Bahr) has identified some funds from her current budget, and we're going to keep it very minimal."

"We think we can keep this under $2,000," Kruger said.

In other personnel news, Kruger said she had been in discussions with outgoing Economic Development Authority (EDA) Coordinator Jordan Wilms about the duties entailed in that position.

"We are going to be identifying various options for either (finding a) replacement or how we might be able to divvy up some of the work among the staff that we have right now."