By Jim Allen
The Personnel, Legal, and Management committee met at 9:00 a.m. on December 7, 2021.
Chair Jim Mikeworth called the meeting to order, and led the committee and public in the pledge to the Flag of the United States.
The first item on the agenda concerned the contract the county has with Jeannine Garrett for Public Defender. There has been no request for an increase in pay for the position. Hein moved to accept the contract and Munson seconded. The motion passed 3-0.
The committee then moved to dissolve the standing committee for Technology Resources which was created earlier this year. After conferring with the county IT department, it was found that a technology committee was not needed. The committee was formed at the September 15 board meeting. An ordinance pertaining to the dissolution of the committee will be voted on at the next County Board meeting.
County Clerk Judi Pollock reported that the new county website is near completion. There are some minor issues that need to be resolved. The board and department heads will be linked to the proposed website for review before acceptance by the County Board.
After completing the items on the agenda, Chair Mikeworth asked the public for questions or comments. Jason Pantier, Director of Probation was present to ask why a line item in the 2020 budget, 001-062-47620 for $25,000 had been reduced to $0.00 in the 2021 budget. Pantier became aware of this on December 1, 2021. Pantier stated that he had emailed several people to seek clarification of the reduction. When asked by Munson which individuals had received the emails, Jason responded that he had sent emails to Kate Watson, Mikeworth, Munson, Pollock, Morris, Hein, and Judge Broch. Although Judge Broch has no input into the budget, he did respond that he received the email. The email was sent “To Whom it may concern”, however, no other recipient responded. With no response, Jason came to the meeting to see what direction he should take.
There were no budget hearings last year due to COVID-19 concerns. Department heads submitted budgets for the year 2021, however, since there was not a hearing, the line item submitted by Jason Pantier for $25,000 was missed on all levels. Since there was no communication, Pantier thought the line item was intact, but not funded. He was asking that the line item be funded to $15,000 for miscellaneous expenses, not tuition. When Munson asked what specific expense would be covered by the requested $15,000 Jason replied that there was a pressing need for office space and related expenses. At this time, an employee has space in a hallway with no effective privacy. This is a concern when dealing with sensitive matters. Munson responded that the line item would not be funded and that Pantier would need to go through proper channels to find space for his employee.
After this, Munson stated that the reason there was no figure put in the line item was that it was not connected to a specific need. Pantier was asking for an adjustment to the proposed budget for $15,000 for the specific need of an office and supporting equipment so his employee would not be located in a hallway. Munson then stated that Pantier should first meet with Building and Grounds to determine where in the Courthouse an office could be located. Pantier stated that he had already been through that process with no results. Munson stated that line item 001-062-4762 will not be funded. Pantier will be contacting the Building and Grounds committee to start a search for office space. Munson agreed to meet with Pantier on other matters of concern.