CLINTON — Due to budget constraints, the Clinton County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday eliminated five county positions.
The Supervisors unanimously approved eliminating the Board of Supervisors’ administrative assistant and secretary, and the Human Resources manager, all considered at-will positions. The community assistance position and a position in maintenance, both union positions, also were eliminated.
Supervisor Shawn Hamerlinck said the county can only forward recommendations or motions “based on the employees that we have direct supervision over.” Vice Chairman Dan Srp said that with the county not getting additional revenue, these cuts are necessary.
“Clinton County’s number one in the state of Iowa for loss of population,” said Srp, referencing a recent report that listed Clinton County as losing the most citizens numerically since 2010 than any other Iowa county. “I think that our revenue isn’t going to be increasing and we’ll know in the future that our revenue is going to continue to decline because of some of the decisions that have come from the state. So I think at this time it’s appropriate for us to eliminate all three positions and I make a motion to that effect.”
The board handled the three at-will positions first. Srp recommended cutting the three positions. He said that it is something the Supervisors are doing out of necessity due to cutbacks needed in the budget. The measure was approved 3-0.
Under the proposal, the employees will get two weeks notice and two weeks of paid administrative leave. Both the notice and the paid administrative leave will take effect immediately. Srp acknowledged the county will lose a service by cutting the employees and said other employees will have to help fill the void.
“We’ve got terrific, dedicated employees in the county that are being affected by this budgetary decision,” Srp said. “I had reservations as well about the paid administrative leave but I do feel like it’s an attempt at being as fair as possible and still responsible with our taxpayer dollar.”
After voting on the three at-will positions, the board held discussion and voted on the two union positions. Hamerlinck explained that due to the union contract, the county must give the union positions three weeks of notice. The community assistance position received their three-week notice Monday and the position will be vacant April 21. Program Director Kim Ralston said they are in the process of transferring some clients and is not sure if the transfers will be done by April 21.
“Our big issue is we don’t want to hit April 30 in relation to pulling those funds out of the fiscal year ‘15 rollover employment that’s still there,” Hamerlinck said. “So that’s why we’re making it three weeks out.”
Ralston mentioned to the board that the employees will have the opportunity to bump, meaning they would take the position of another employee. If the employees decide to bump, this could delay the process, according to Ralston. Hamerlinck acknowledged this is a possibility and said that is why the county wants to give the notice as soon as possible.
After the Supervisors approved eliminating the community assistance position, they held discussion before voting on the position in the Maintenance department. According to Hamerlinck, the department requested to make the final date April 28 due to absences scheduled within the department. Hamerlinck said that, although they would like to keep the final dates the same, he recommended granting them the extra week.
“We were noticing dates of absences that we as a board had given word and agreed to,” Hamerlinck said. “Based on other people within the department who are going to be absent before the return of those people to take over the duties and job functions. As a result of that, there’s been a request to make that final date April 28 instead of April 21. Ideally I’d like to keep them all the same. However, since we did at budget time make the agreement on the absence, we feel obligated to follow through with our original plan.”
The board unanimously approved the elimination of the position in the maintenance department effective April 28. Since the elimination of the position would not occur until April 28, the department would be notified of the elimination effective April 7 to follow the three-week requirement, according to Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker.
Herald Staff Writer John Rohlf can be reached at email@example.com.