Supervisors Discuss Health Plan, County Engineer Hiring Process

Mahaska County Board of Supervisors In Session On September 3, 2013By Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News

Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Tuesday morning, the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors received a presentation reviewing the county’s health plan, and discussed the county engineer hiring process.

Brad Reiman from Bearance Management Group presented the county’s health plan mid-year review. Reiman discussed how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) affects the county. He says the county has to pay a Transitional Reinsurance Program fee, starting on July 1, that costs $5.25 for every county employee on the health plan per month. The county has 302 employees on the health plan.

Reiman said it’s possible the Transitional Reinsurance Program fee, which is supposed to be a fee for this year only, will have to be paid again next year depending on how details from the PPACA play out. The county also has to pay a Patient Center Outcome Research Institute fee. That fee is $1 per covered member per year.

“All in all, again, this is a good mid-year review. We do have another five more months, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Reiman said.

The board also discussed the county engineer hiring process. Current County Engineer Jerry Nusbaum is under contract until June 30, however, Nusbaum has asked for a contract extension. The board has not taken action regarding Nusbaum’s extension, but it decided to start accepting applications for the position in its meeting on Feb. 3.

Supervisor Mark Doland said he met with Leighton Mayor Dan Gleason and created an outline for the hiring process (Gleason had expressed concerns on how the county conducts its engineer hiring process in the Jan. 20 board of supervisors meeting).

Doland discussed the details of his proposed outline:

  • Accept applications for the county engineer position until March 14
  • Conduct temperament analysis profiles and conduct background and reference checks
  • Hold a meet and greet between the applicant and community members. The community members complete candidate qualifications assessments where they offer feedback.
  • Interview process
  • Candidate evaluation
  • Post-offer background checks (like a credit score check or a drug test)

Supervisor Mike Vander Molen said he thought the hiring process should resemble how the county hired its attorney last year.

“I think I’m more comfortable doing what we did with the attorney, where we take applications, interview, solicit feedback on our own, (and) make a decision,” Vander Molen said.

Vander Molen also said the board would make sure the community is involved. Doland responded by saying that his proposed outline ensures community involvement.

“I think there’s a lot value to having input from a wide group of people, and open it up. I don’t think that we need thousands of people there, but I think from various different entities like, the MCDG (Mahaska County Development Group) group submitted a letter, they wanted to have a little bit more input, so did the Mayors Council,” Doland said.

Supervisor Greg Gordy also weighed in on the discussion.

“I think the county attorney process went pretty smooth, but I think we can take this into consideration,” Gordy said.

Doland said this hiring process is different given the concerns the board received from the community. However, Vander Molen said he also received concerns throughout the county attorney process.

“Well, there were a lot of people that came to one of our meetings, that, in my opinion, showed public support,” Doland said. “I didn’t see that during the county attorney process.”

Gordy suggested waiting to see how many applicants the county receives in the next month, and then evaluate the county’s next steps. The board unanimously agreed and did not take any action. Vander Molen also suggested possibly holding ‘open’ interviews during the process.

In other agenda items, the board unanimously approved a Mahaska County Secondary Roads bridge replacement project on 295th Street. The estimated cost of the project is $121,000. The board also received sanitarian and conservation reports.

During the committee reports portion of the meeting, Doland said the 10-15 Transit group that he’s a part of has met with the Iowa Department of Transportation to discuss funding about a proposed fixed bus route. Doland said that for “special” projects, there are funding opportunities that might cover 80 percent in operating revenue the first year, and 50 percent the second year. He said that process is moving forward.

The next board of supervisors meeting is on March 3.

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