Supervisors reorganize for 2018

Mahaska County Courthouse

by Charlie Comfort

Oskaloosa, Iowa- The Mahaska County Supervisors closed the books on 2017 and looked towards 2018, as they met on Tuesday for the first time of the year. The first supervisor meeting of the year is typically a reorganization meeting, with numerous annual formalities on the agenda. Tuesday’s meeting was no different, as the supervisors made a series of appointments and annual reorganization votes at Tuesday’s meeting.

Action taken during the reorganization items on the agenda included:

*A unanimous vote to name Willie Van Weelden board Chairman and Mark Groenendyk as board Vice Chairman.
*A unanimous vote to keep meetings on the first and third Monday of the month at 9 am, with meetings falling on the next business day if Monday is a holiday.
*A unanimous vote to name the custodians of the courthouse.
*A unanimous vote to set New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas day as courthouse holidays.
*A unanimous vote to approve the equal opportunity statement.
*A unanimous vote to name the official depositories of the County.
*A unanimous vote to allow county officers to destroy records that have been in each respective office’s possession for more than ten years and are not required to be kept.
*A unanimous vote to approve the weed commissioner’s annual report.

Various positions to county boards and commissions were approved.

Among the action on Tuesday was an appointment to the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter Board. Supervisor Willie Van Weelden made a recommendation to reappoint Jean Bieri as the county’s representative on the board. However, Van Weelden added that later in the year, a member of the Supervisors and the Oskaloosa City Council would need to join the board.

“I think after the year goes along, after the audit that came back from the state, we may have a board of supervisor member and maybe a member from the [Oskaloosa] City Council to join that group. I haven’t talked to them specifically about that but that was the strong suggestion from the auditor of state, to be a little bit more involved, so that’s the way we’ll go,” Van Weelden said.

In October 2017, former animal shelter director Lindsey Sime pled guilty to credit card fraud and third-degree theft, in relation to a special investigation of the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter’s finances. Judge Rose Ann Mefford sentenced Sime to a suspended two-year prison sentence and ordered her to pay restitution to the animal shelter in the amount of $6,049.45.

In December 2017, the state auditor’s office released the results of a special audit and investigation into the animal shelter’s financial dealings. The report outlined $13,412.43 of identified “improper and unsupported disbursements and undeposited collections.” At that time, the report recommended the animal shelter board become more active in the day-to-day operations of the Shelter and strengthen internal controls of the Shelter.

The board of supervisors also considered a recommendation from the compensation commission, which recommended a 3.13 percent increase in salary for the countywide elected officials. Supervisor Mark Groenendyk said that he spoke with several area employers in Pella and Oskaloosa and inquired about employee pay raises. Groenendyk said that he calculated pay raises at several area employers to be around 2 percent.

“We’ve got some good employees. Everyone works hard,” Groenendyk said of the county employees.

After some discussion, the board unanimously voted to modify the compensation commission recommendation to a two percent increase, with the potential to increase or decrease that amount after budget talks later this month.

The board also voted 2-1, with Supervisor Chairman Willie VanWeelden voting No, to deny an amendment to the 28E agreement with the Southern Iowa Detention Service Agency. The amendment would require member counties to send 80 percent of kids there in order to receive any money, should the detention center close down.

The next regular meeting of the Mahaska County Supervisors will be on Tuesday, January 16 at 9 am in the Supervisors meeting room.

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Posted by on Jan 4 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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