County votes to keep Kehr on board

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

There will not be any changes made to the Statewide Health Improvement Program grant position. The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to keep coordinator Ellen Kehr in the position until the grant is finished in June 2011.

Commissioners Glen Mathiason, Jim Nelson and Linda Tuttle voted to leave the position as it is, and Commissioner Dan Belshan and Board Chairman Christopher Shoff voted to open the position up again.

“No other county did it this way,” Belshan said. “No matter how you spin it, allowing only one applicant is indefensible because the county is an equal opportunity employer.”

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The commissioners who voted to leave the position as it is said the process had already taken a lot of time, and in the future they’d look at hiring practices more closely.

“I’m not agreeing with some of the ways things happened,” Tuttle said. “I think we need to move forward.”

County Attorney Craig Nelson was asked to give his legal opinion on a few matters to the board on Tuesday. He said he read the grant and thinks the board didn’t have control over who was hired.

“The grant is large and provides within it who’s in charge and has responsibility,” Nelson said.

He also advised the board that they should from now on have written contracts with Express Personnel, a temporary service the county uses.

In other action, the commissioners:

Voted again to leave the South Country Health Alliance after hearing from the public and commissioner Mathiason about the reasons the county should stay in the alliance. Commissioners voting against staying with the alliance said the risk of losing money was too great to stay in it.

Approved an almost $25,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to help operate Freeborn County’s emergency management program.

Appointed three managers, Bruce Haugsdal, Alan Bakken and Brett Richards, to the Shell Rock River Watershed Board of Managers.