CLINTON — The Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussed the creation of a building key policy and procedure at the regular meeting Monday.

Clinton County Building Maintenance Director Rick Laurion has been working on integrating a policy to identify and control the number of keys issued to county employees. The policy details that a grand master key will be issued only to the fire department and county security and building maintenance personnel. Building entrance keys that open one or more exterior doors will be given to county department heads and elected officials, while office keys to single doors will be distributed to specific personnel.

According to the draft policy, it is the discretion of the department heads who may receive an office or a building entrance key within their department. Before receiving a key, the employee must sign an acknowledgment page detailing they have received the key, as well as the key type and number. When a county employee’s employment is at an end, the policy dictates that the building and office keys must be returned or the county will withhold their final paycheck until the keys are turned in.

Laurion will create and maintain a master record of all keys issued to county employees, which will be reviewed and audited three times each year.

Several county department heads attended the board meeting Monday morning in order to ask questions about the key policy.

Supervisor Dennis Starling said having an abundance of keys in county offices was a convenience previously, but in the post-9-11 world, there is a need for extra vigilance in security. He noted that security should be a No. 1 goal in county buildings.

Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Kevin Cain agreed, saying it is better to prevent something from happening than to have to change policy because something happens.

Supervisor Grant Wilke said access to county buildings should be as limited as possible.

Clinton City Assessor John Moreland suggested the county also look at utilizing identification badges for employees. Board Chairwoman Jill Davisson noted a card system could be used both as a key to get into the building and a way to track employee presence in the building. County Attorney Mike Wolf advised the Clinton Police Department has the capability to make identification cards and could be approached about creating the cards for county employees. Davisson asked the department heads to direct further suggestions or questions to Board Secretary Lynn Tibbetts by the end of the week. The key policy will be finalized within the next two to three weeks.

The board also continued discussion regarding the creation of a workforce development coordinator to work with area schools and inform students about jobs available locally. Sylvia Banes, executive director of the DeWitt Development Co., approached the board about the position in March. She said the purpose of the program would be to offer students an opportunity to explore jobs in the area and learn what employers look for in employees, as well as create a relationship between schools and businesses. Banes asked the county to provide $10,000 toward the program, with the DeWitt Development Co. providing $2,000.

Wanda Wyatt-Hardwick, Iow@Work lead employment specialist, and Brian Volkens, chairman of the DeWitt Development Co. board of directors, addressed the supervisors Monday regarding concerns about the program. Wyatt-Hardwick said she met with Banes to discuss the program and said Iow@Work offers many of the same services as the proposed program. She noted the concern of staff is that the current Iow@Work program is not able to reach all local schools on a regular basis. She said the new coordinator program would be a great way to expand services as Iow@Work only offers services to individuals who meet program guidelines.

Volkens noted that Banes has been in contact with many schools and has received letters of support for the program. He said the DDC supports the program and noted that workforce development is becoming increasingly important, advising the program would help bridge a gap from schooling to employment.

Starling said the county would not fund the program in the future if it is not working and said the board would need feedback from the program organizers to determine if the county would continue the program. He said it is important to see some measure of what the money is accomplishing.

Volkens agreed staff members would provide information on how the program is progressing. Davisson requested that a resolution authorizing the $10,000 for the Business and Education Coordinator position be drafted and put on the next board meeting agenda for approval.

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