Commissioners contemplate new phone system, debate use of caller ID
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 2:30 AM
"It's been an interesting year. A lot has happened," summarized Fillmore County Board of Commissioners Chair Randy Dahl. The board met on the morning of Christmas Eve to take care of a few items before heading out for the holidays.
Even the county commissioners got into the Christmas spirit at their Christmas Eve morning meeting. Karen Brown addressed the commissioners in what was her last board meeting before she retires at the end of the month. ANTON ADAMEK/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
In what was her last board meeting before she retires, outgoing County Coordinator Karen Brown addressed the board regarding several items. She asked the board to consider entering into a 36-month agreement with CenturyLink for a Primary Rate Interface (PRI) at the courthouse. The new system would replace the current T1 telephone service with a digital connection.
Brown said the new system would save the county approximately $575 per month or $6,901 for the year. The board also had the option of entering into a 60-month agreement, but Brown said the county would save an additional $175 per month when they renew the service at the office building next spring.
The new service would also provide the county with up to 100 Direct Inward Dial numbers, which could allow people to call specific county employees directly.
The new service would also provide the county with caller identification. Commissioner Duane Bakke expressed his uneasiness with getting caller identification because it would lead to employees choosing when they would answer the phone.
"In the case of a public entity, you have to answer the phone," he stated.
Brown said she thought the caller ID feature would relate more to security.
Dahl said there would need to be a memo sent out to employees directing them to answer all calls or there would be repercussions.
Bakke agreed there should be a policy written up concerning caller ID.
Commissioner Chuck Amunrud said caller ID would come in handy if a person calls who is known to cause problems. "If a call is threatening, it could be used to let another person know to pick up and listen."
Sheriff Darryl Jensen chimed in, adding the Sheriff's Office gets calls from salespeople who waste a lot of their time. He noted caller ID would be good to use in order to avoid those calls, but to not become something "we use to avoid doing our jobs."
Commissioner Tom Kaase said if there were customer service complaints once the service is in place, the county could look back and see if there is a problem in the call logs.
Bakke clarified his position that he didn't have a problem with caller ID as long as it was used properly.
Brown also asked the board what their wishes were concerning the contents of the time capsule that was opened in 2005. She showed the board several items dating back to the 1950s, including photographs, floor plans and newspapers. Bakke suggested the county put together something with the contents instead of burying them again. Dahl said a glass display case along a wall in the courthouse could house the items and allow for newer items to be displayed as well.
Brown also asked the board's wishes for the two original shovels that were signed by local, state and federal officials from the veterans' cemetery groundbreaking ceremony. Bakke suggested one stay at the courthouse, with the other going to the Fillmore County Historical Center (FCHC). He also noted the FCHC was planning on getting very involved in the cemetery through genealogy research.
Brown asked the board what they would like done with the veterans' cemetery renderings, which have been on display at the courthouse. It had been suggested to frame them. It was noted that the actual buildings may look different from the renderings. It was requested to get prices for the different options for framing.
It was determined to continue considering the renewal of an Independent Contractor Agreement for 2014 with Lisa Stensrud for physical therapy services. It was asked why the cost for such services seemed to be high and how much of the cost would be reimbursed back to the county, since the services are provided through the county health insurance.
The board approved the temporary hire of help in Information Systems to address new computer imaging issues and staff training.
Bakke informed the board that the county had requested $55,400 through the Highway Safety Improvement Program to purchase and install new Chevron signs for high priority curves throughout the county. There are 193 curves that the Highway Department recommends be covered with signs, with 42 deemed as high priority.