Belshan says time is right to reevaluate collaborative

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Commissioner Dan Belshan continued to press for cuts in the administrative costs of the Freeborn County Family Services Collaborative Tuesday, suggesting a move to a half-time coordinator.

Marilyn Koprowksi, the collaborative’s full-time coordinator, will be leaving her job in July, and Belshan said that presents a perfect opportunity to go to a part-time staff member to administer the cooperative.

&uot;It’s worth an effort,&uot; Belshan said at Tuesday’s county board meeting. &uot;It’s not just something to leave on the side.&uot;

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He said neighboring counties have been able to generate more federal funding through their cooperatives with less administrative expense. He said Freeborn County’s collaborative spends 28 percent of the funds it receives on administration.

The collaborative is a joint effort of the county, city and school district and receives federal funds for work with at-risk youth. Belshan said keeping better track of time spent on qualifying tasks can result in

more federal compensation, and that counties like Steele, which brings in more than twice what Freeborn County does with a part-time administrator, prove that changes can be made while keeping the collaborative successful.

Belshan was recently removed from the board that governs the collaborative, and Belshan said he suspects his ideas on cutting administrative costs were the reason.

In other news from Tuesday’s meeting:

-The county expects to save more than $14,000 annually by changing its long-distance phone service carrier from McLeod USA to US Link, said County Administrator Ron Gabrielsen. The board unanimously approved the switch.

-In personnel moves, the board approved the promotion of zoning officer Wayne Sorenson for the vacant job of zoning administrator. The county will hire a new zoning officer to assist Sorenson. The board also approved the hire of Curt Rebelein as highway superintendent and authorized the hiring a mechanic for the highway department.

-Court administration employees will undergo bilingual training on June 10, thanks to a combination of state grants and funds from the United Way.

-Clarks Grove resident Jim Hanson addressed the board and asked Gabrielsen about an incident at a recent board meeting where Belshan’s microphone was turned off, which has been interpreted by Belshan supporters as an attempt to silence him. Asked for an explanation, Gabrielsen said his foot accidentally hit the microphone switch.