CLINTON — The Clinton County Board of Supervisors on Monday discussed the results of a Human Resources report prepared for the county by consultant Troy Wright.

Wright said he would review a summary of the report with the supervisors and seek their recommendation as to the next step. He said the report is the result of eight meetings with county employees to discuss human resources issues. He noted that as a whole, employees said benefits offered through the county are good and compensation is fair, although some felt they needed better compensation. He said one of the largest issues discussed was the need for management training for department heads to better their skills and improve communication.

Supervisor Dennis Starling stated he found the comments regarding employee pay interesting because compensation is regulated by employee contracts. Supervisor Grant Wilke noted that some employees indicated a feeling that the Board of Supervisors is “out of touch” with the county departments. Wright said some comments were made saying the board makes rulings on the departmental budget without knowing the duties of those departments. Wilke remarked the department heads present their budgets and the main problem is limited funds. He said many people may feel that they are worth more than they currently receive, but the county has to stay within the budget.

Board Chairwoman Jill Davisson said that from reading the first couple pages of Wright’s report, it indicates that some county employees do not realize the role of the board. Wright said employees expressed concerns regarding not knowing when members of the board are available and could be better informed of their duties and schedule.

Wright said some employees indicated a concern of retaliation following the meetings and expressed a feeling that elected officials “can’t be touched.” He added many commented that to hold the meetings was “nice,” but said they knew nothing would come of it. He said he assured the employees that the board is serious about making the workplace better within the county. Wilke said there is no intent by the board for retaliation, only to utilize the information to improve the workplace for their benefit. Wright encouraged the board that there needs to be some “follow through” after the report.

Davisson said she noticed things in the report that have been dealt with recently, and other issues that could be “fixed” right away. She noted that some issues employees expressed were things she was not aware of. She thanked the employees for being forthcoming and honest. She said that a personal meeting between a supervisor and individual departments might be appropriate to determine what the top priorities are, explain any misconceptions and examine solutions. Starling agreed, saying the objective is to make the workplace fair for everyone, address concerns and identify issues that can be rectified. Wilke thanked Wright for putting the report together and for his statements about following through and showing some progress. He said that by doing so, hopefully county employees would see the board’s intent to improve the workplace and in the future, be more willing to come forward with their concerns.

Following a discussion at the Sept. 10 board meeting with County Attorney Mike Wolf, the board again discussed the potential of Assistant County Attorney Liz Srp taking on bargaining unit negotiation duties.

Davisson said she had spoken with Srp and she had indicated she would be more comfortable with Attorney Wylie Pillers continuing to be the lead on negotiations this year so she could observe and learn from the process. Wolf advised that Pillers would be willing to do as the county directs and had indicated a willingness to reduce his regular rate to $100 per hour if hired on a consultant basis.

Starling said Srp could meet with Wright to discuss employee relations and convey those to Pillers. The board approved motions to retain Pillers as lead negotiator and Srp as assistant negotiator and authorize Davisson to negotiate compensation for those services.

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