Fillmore Co. Board addresses communication, personnel matters

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

Fillmore County’s Feb. 11 County Board meeting was brief, allowing the commissioners to quickly handle business, which included policies, personnel and solid waste licenses.

Director of nursing Jessica Erickson presented a customer email and texting informed consent policy by which individuals who need information from the public health department receive such by text message instead of other means of communication. 

Erickson reported that public health clients “seem to respond better by text,” so the solution to prevent clients from having staff’s personal phone numbers is to send text messages that come back to county staff by email.  She explained that conducting business in this manner keeps responses from clients coming during regular work hours and not during staff’s personal time. 

The commissioners accepted the policy that was presented.

Healthy kids initiative

Erickson also told about the Healthy Kids Minnesota initiative that would allow for testing of Fillmore County preschoolers for health markers. 

“We’re working on getting an agreement and a budget together to recruit 50 to 60 kids’ urine samples through early childhood screening, for kids age 3 to 5, to see what they’ve been exposed to, like metals and pesticides,” she said.  “I think this is a great opportunity for Fillmore County.” 

Commissioner Duane Bakke registered that the results of such a study would be interesting, given the various places that children can be exposed to toxic compounds. 

Erickson replied that even though the project “is not going to be able to pinpoint to show that ‘this’ is a place,” the results will be valuable in illustrating to what the county’s youngest residents have been exposed.     

Personnel matters

Human resources officer Kristina Kohn came before the board with a request to hire a full-time jailer effective Feb. 28, naming Stephanie Miner as the candidate.  Commissioners Mitch Lentz and Larry Hindt made the motions to approve. 

The board also thanked social services employee Rebecca Burland for her 21 years of service to the county as she takes early retirement through the county’s early retirement incentive program.  Kohn informed the board that a request for a hire to replace Burland would be coming at a later meeting. 

The board hired two intermittent jailers, Karly Flood and Sarah Peck, as well as two intermittent deputies, Samuel Judd and Jonah Staffan. 

Lastly in personnel matters, the board hired replacement accounting technician Christy Smith.  

Other business

Anne Koliha and Laura Christensen, of the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District, appeared before the board to ask for the commissioners’ approval of closing out two grants – the 2018 Wetland Conservation Act grant and the 2019 Local Water Management grant – and the commissioners obliged. 

The final item involved accepting the 2020 solid waste haulers’ licenses as presented by solid waste administrator Drew Hatzenbihler, who responded to the commissioners’ inquiry regarding whether solid waste recovery center staff actually assist residents who bring items to the resource recovery center in removing those items from their vehicles.

Hatzenbihler stated that if a person requests help, it will be given, but that his staff generally avoids using large equipment to remove items from residents’ vehicles as a measure of preventing damage to vehicles.        

The consent agenda included approving the minutes of the Feb. 4 board meeting and the Minnesota lawful gambling premises permit for a July 26 raffle at the Lanesboro Gun Club.