Supervisors Talk Hiring Freeze

Posted on 23 January 2014 by KWBG

BOONE, Iowa—Boone County Department heads were on hand Wednesday to hear about the Boone County Supervisors plan for a hiring freeze that would affect all county departments with no exceptions.  At least that’s the way it appeared on the Supervisors agenda.  Supervisor Chet Hollingshead had requested that the topic be placed on the agenda to highlight what he says is his concern that county revenues will not be able to support the current services being provided to Boone County residents.  Hollingshead says it appears that due to property tax reform, declining crop prices and other factors, the county will be faced with some tough choices and he wanted to stay ahead of the issue and address matters proactively.  Hollingshead was stressing that hiring would not be eliminated completely, but he would want department heads to provide necessary information to the board to justify replacing someone that either retires or resigns.  Hollingshead said he would like to see vacancies filled by others already on the county payroll if possible.

Supervisor Steve Duffy said new money the county expected to receive in the next fiscal year was reduced by state rollbacks to the point that it all went to cover the increased cost for insurance premiums and raises.

Department heads did raise many questions ranging from the affect on current budget preparation to the Supervisors plans for gauging how or why a position could be filled.  In the end, the Supervisors did not take action to put in place a hiring freeze, but that doesn’t mean the matter couldn’t come back in the future.  Next time it would appear that the Department heads would be more involved in the decision.

The Supervisors have already questioned filling some positions.  The most recent included the vacancy for a Buildings and Grounds Superintendent.  The position had been vacant for several months before and agreement was worked out with County Health and Sanitation, Code Enforcement officer Dave Frost to also cover overseeing Buildings and Grounds.  A contract specifying the job was agreed to late last year.  Also last year, the Supervisors asked Landfill Administrator Scott Smith to not hire a replacement for Environmental Education Coordinator Lisa Anderson.  Smith covered the position for several months and the Board had hoped to have County Naturalist Emily Klein cover the position.  That did not work out and Smith did hire John Roosa as the Environmental Education Specialist on a part-time basis.  Even before that, Veronica Rardin, County Recorder did not replace a staff member that had resigned, until the remaining staff was unable to keep up with the work load.  Then a part-time person was hired.

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