Emily Steinert hired as social worker supervisor

Barb Becker, District 1, is Todd County Board chair

ry supervision of newly licensed social workers was a discussion item at the Jan. 5 meeting of the Todd County Commissioners. 

Currently, Todd County Health and Human Services (HHS) has two staff who require this type of supervision. Individuals must meet certain criteria to provide it. Since the retirement of Emily Steinert, Northern Pines Mental Health Center has been providing this service for Todd County HHS staff at a rate of $95 per hour plus staff travel time to Little Falls.

The commissioners were asked to approve the hiring of Steinert to supervise newly licensed social workers during their first two years of employment at a rate of $36.179 per hour for up to four hours per week. Steinert will provide the supervision onsite at the Todd County offices.

Commissioner Randy Neumann asked if a lower rate had been offered to Steinert as was typical if the county hired someone back.

Supervisor Todd Weyer said that it would have been a reasonable thing to do, but when compared to the $95 they were paying Northern Pines this seemed a good option.

Citizen Karen Hudalla said that from a taxpayer’s perspective she wanted to make it clear that social workers at the county level in Todd County do not have to be licensed. She also wondered if it made more sense to have someone in-house trained as a supervisor and asked if the county could have the employees sign something that said they would stay with the county for three years.

Weyer said that it does make them more employable, but that as far as having them sign something like that, he was not sure how contractually that would work.

Commissioner Randy Neumann asked how long the hire of Steinert was.

Weyer said they needed about 80 hours more for the current employees, so about a year and a half.

He said they were looking at in-house options for providing the supervision and that someone had expressed interest in doing it, but that they also could not force people to take on supervisory duties.

HHS Director Jackie Och said that they are one of the few counties that does not require social workers to be licensed, but that may be changing as policies change.

Neumann said he wanted a two year cap put on the time they hired Steinert.

Commissioner Dave Kircher said they could direct HHS to come up with a plan and present it in July about how they are going to transition into this. He also said he felt two years was too long and that he would like to see it in-house by the end of this year.

Board reorganization

As is customary at the first meeting of the year the board approved meeting dates and committee assignments as well as other official designations. 

Commissioner Barb Becker is the chair and Commissioner Rod Erickson is the vice-chair.

The board will continue to meet at 9 a.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Becker asked that they leave the fourth Tuesday of the month open for work/finance committee sessions as needed.

There was some discussion about some of the committee assignments, however, most assignments stayed the same as 2015. The complete list of committees can be seen on the county’s website at co.todd.mn.us.

The board approved the official newspaper as the Staples World, Independent News Herald, Long Prairie Leader and Browerville Blade under a bid submitted by the Staples World for $9.75 per column inch for legal publications. This is less than a two percent increase.

For the $9.75 rate, all legal public notices are published in all four newspapers and the rate is split.

Kircher asked how the increase fits in with their budget?

Auditor/Treasurer Denise Gaida said she had budgeted the same as last year for this. She said they may be over budget, but that it may also be less depending on how much advertising they do.

Long Prairie Leader Publisher Jason Brown said that the county had done away with the Health and Human Services monthly meeting and so that should save the county some money.

Gaida said she will keep track of the advertising and costs.

Kircher said he did not understand why the state statute was set so that the newspaper bids came in after the budget was already set. 

“It puts us behind the eight-ball,” he said.

Staples World General Manager Brenda Halvorson said that they could do the bids earlier if the county requested it. The auditor’s office will look into that for next year.

The board also designated the extra publication newspaper as the Staples World, Independent News Herald, Long Prairie Leader and Browerville Blade under a bid submitted by the Long Prairie Leader at a rate of $7.80 per column inch. This was a 50 cent increase. The rate had been at $7.30 since 2008. This rate is also split among the four publications and the extra publication runs in all four newspapers.

In other business:

o Approved the transfer of $5273.14 from the DARE Fund to the Todd County Citizens Against Drugs Fund. DARE funds are to be used in teaching students in the schools of Todd County about the dangers of drug use. The Todd County Sheriff’s Office no longer has a DARE program so CAD will be teaching this course in all of Todd County schools and using these funds. 

The DARE fund will close and the fines collected by the court will now go directly into the CAD fund.

o The board approved the public defender contract with Peters and Churchwell with no changes from the 2015 contract.

Todd County is responsible for provision of public defender services in certain types of cases. The county staff, including prosecutor and HHS staff that work with the public defender, have recommended continuing the contract.

o Approved advertising in-house for a full-time deputy, an opening created when Steve Och was appointed Chief Deputy.

o Approved the hire of part-time jailor/dispatcher Renee Wenner.

o Approved the hire of a GIS Layer assistant, Carol Wimmer to work on the buffer inventory project funded through Soil and Water Conservation District grants at $12 per hour for up to 67 days or $3,000 whichever comes first. 

o Approved the hire of Tracy Dullinger to the position of Eligibility Worker.

o Accepted the resignation of Barb Graves, effective Dec. 24, 2015 and approved hiring a support enforcement aide to fill the vacancy.

o Approved tobacco sales licenses for Clarissa Municipal Liquor, Clarissa; Don and Dave’s Store, Staples; Jon’s Family Foods, Clarissa; The Hub Supper Club, Burtrum; Oscar Jacobson Post 417, Little Sauk; Seven Oaks Express, Bertha; Eagle Valley Express, Clarissa; Sidewalk Bar, West Union and All American Roadhouse, Hewitt.

Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100
Staples, MN 56479
Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570
Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112
E Mail: info@staplesworld.com

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