Editorial: It’s time to act on SHIP issue

Published 9:20 am Friday, April 30, 2010

It’s clear to most anyone the Freeborn County government could have done a better job than interviewing a single person for the 22-month job of the local coordinator for the Statewide Health Improvement Program. You’ll get no argument from us, either.

However, we will note that it would be foolish to go backward in the effort by firing the coordinator, Ellen Kehr. The county needs to keep her. Not only are her community connections a key asset in making the work successful, she already has done a mountain of work in getting the SHIP effort rolling and planned.

Just visit the new website — www.healthyfreeborncounty.org — to see.

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It would be sheer government waste to backtrack now.

So here is what the county commissioners should do (or perhaps something similar): Ask county staff to draft a revised policy for temporary jobs longer than a year. It treats the hiring process for those positions somewhat more like full-time permanent jobs.

And they should pass a resolution backing Kehr and reiterating her efforts, in effect sending a message to residents that while indeed the hiring process could have been better she is not to blame or at fault for any of it. This measure would be good for helping her do the task for which she has been hired.

Then perhaps everyone can move on and get down to the good stuff: There is an effort afoot to make residents healthier. This is important and should not get lost in the politics.