Board Of Supervisors Wade Into Engineer Matter
Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met at 9am on Monday morning, January 20th to receive reports from various agencies in the county.
Mahaska County Sanitarian Eric Dursky talked about the regulations on rock quarries “and what their material needs to be for their specs. We’ve kinda slipped off the charts regulating and managing that,” Dursky said. Dursky explained that Dan Olsen from the DNR would be coming down to speak with interested parties, on January 30th, in regard to those regulations.
Dursky spoke about some properties in Beacon that may be better served by being on the sanitary sewer system. He said he had been in contact with Randy Pleima from Mahaska Rural Water about getting those homes added to the sanitary sewer system. Mahaska Rural Water administrates the waste water treatment for Beacon.
Also on tap for the Sanitarian is a look at possible waste water issues in New Sharon at various residences.
Deanne DeGroot with MCARD spoke about the ongoing development of the Opportunity Square website. Their current website can be seen at www.op2iowa.com.
The MCARD board will meet on Tuesday, March 4th, with the Mayor’s Council meeting on January 23 at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa.
DeGroot also spoke of the new brochures for the revolving loan fund, with two applicants that are currently looking to utilize the service.
Leighton Mayor Dan Gleason spoke with the Supervisors in regard to a letter that he, University Park Mayor George Toubekis and Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt all signed endorsing Mahaska County Engineer Jerry Nusbaum, who’s contract is ending with the county on June 30th.
The Supervisors have not been receptive to extending Nusbaum’s contract for an additional six months, instead, opting to begin the process to look into hiring an engineer to replace Nusbaum. Nusbaum has asked for only a year’s extension to his contract at the time, during which he was on the 10th of 12 chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with cancer. Nusbaum says he has now been declared cancer free and is fit to continue working.
Gleason spoke to the board in regards to the mayors’ concerns that the expertise Nusbaum brings to the table will be difficult to replace.
Mahaska County Supervisor Mark Doland said, “I want to make a clarification, there’s been no vote.”
Even without a vote, the impression the Supervisors are giving, as a whole, is that the process of hiring a replacement will be ongoing.
Gleason spoke of the concerns that six months isn’t a long enough time span in order to find a suitable replacement, citing things like mission and goals. He also noted that the job description needs to be looked at to make sure it’s still accurate.
Nusbaum was hired nearly 13 years ago, and, to this point, has yet to have a review of his performance. An updated understanding of what the current engineer does is needed, because Gleason believes that the interest of the residents and county would be best served by being accurate in the hiring process.
Gleason asked that other county stake holders be involved in the selection process, “and also accept the idea that we have a vested interest since the quality and safety of our roads affects every community,” saying it directly relates to county communities viability.
Supervisor Mike Vander Molen offered to have the interview process open to the public as a way to allow the mayors and other interested individuals to participate.
“In my standpoint, what is six months going to buy here,” said Supervisor Greg Gordy in response to Gleason’s request that the hiring process be lengthened to help facilitate a smooth transition. “You have to get on with it sooner or later,” said Gordy. During Nusbaum’s time as the county engineer, Gordy has yet to vote in favor of retaining Nusbaum.
Later in the meeting, the agenda item of ‘Continuation of contract – Co. Engineer’ had no action after Nusbaum expressed his desire to be retained.
The board then accepted quarterly reports from; Veterans Affairs, Auditor, Recorder, Sheriff and also accepted the Treasurer semi-annual report.
The board authorized the opening of restrooms for community events such as Sweet Corn Serenade and the Lighted Christmas Parade, authorized the removal of the Fremont-What Cheer Vine from the county’s listing of official newspapers.
Also in board action, they gave the go ahead to the purchase of computers for Community Services Director Julie Bak for case management. Their current systems will soon no longer be in HIPPA compliance.
The Area 15 Regional Planning Commission per capita rate was set and approved by the board.
Closed session then took place to allow the Supervisors to discuss Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) arbitration with the Mahaska County Attorney Charles Stream. When they returned to open session, it was noted they would continue discussions with Wapello County on the matter.
A public meeting of February 3, at 9:30 am for the vacation of streets and alleys in Truax was set.