The Pulaski County Election Board now has the full support of the county commissioners and the county council to research the feasibility of implementing e-poll books.
Election board member Laura Bailey requested permission from the county council last week to seek more information about e-poll books for the county’s polling sites. Voters would digitally sign in on an iPad when they arrive at one of the seven polling sites in the county to vote. The e-poll books would replace the printed registration books. A receipt would be issued to the voter and taken to an election official to bring up a ballot.
The Pulaski County Council and Commissioners will be looking into gathering more funds for county roads.
Commission President Larry Brady said the roads severely deteriorated this past winter. Brady told the county council members this week that he chatted with the employees at the highway department who say they’re dipping into this summer’s funding to repair frost line-damaged roads.
The Pulaski County Council and Commissioners will meet in a special joint session meeting on Monday, May 4 to discuss two items.
Pulaski County Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston has prepared a presentation on structural issues that need to be addressed at the Pulaski County Courthouse. Johnston informed the commissioners last week that the presentation includes several pages of notes.
A loan was approved by the Pulaski County Council to help the Town of Monterey with a wastewater system upgrade.
Pulaski County Community Development Commission (CDC) Executive Director Nathan Origer and Monterey Town Council President Jim Fleury were before the county council members on Monday night to request a $20,000 loan for matching grant funds for the project.
The money would be advertised as an additional appropriation from the CDC fund to make a loan available to the town. The money will be only be spent if the town’s grant request is approved.
The Pulaski County Council took action to create a temporary loan to cover expenses in the General Fund.
Auditor Shelia Garling explained to the county council that the financial report shows that the General Fund is $175,156.66 short. Garling asked that a loan be authorized from the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT) County Certified Shares line item to support the General Fund. The CAGIT fund has a balance of $1.8 million.
The Pulaski County Council members took a giant step last night to help keep paramedics and EMS staff members in the county.
EMS Director Nikki Lowry previously pleaded with the county council to help retain her staff as they are leaving for higher pay in surrounding counties. The turnover rate is very high. She asked that a committee get together and aid her in restructuring pay in the EMS budget.
The Pulaski County Commissioners approved the action of interviewing candidates for the position of highway superintendent, but the position is not yet open.
The commissioners were notified that Superintendent Mark Fox may submit his letter of resignation last week, but that letter has not been filed with the Pulaski County Auditor’s office, according to Auditor Shelia Garling.
Personnel policy handbook training sessions for department heads and employees in Pulaski County are scheduled for this month.
County Attorney Kevin Tankersley explained to the commissioners last week that a revision is complete which provides more detail and required forms. Workers compensation, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) information, overtime, and more is included in the 98-page document. Tankersley said the new manual is more user-friendly. A policy has been in place in Pulaski County since 2012.
Pleasant View Rest Home
The last day of operations at the Pleasant View Rest Home in Winamac is tomorrow.
Operations are coming to an end after the Pulaski County Council made a decision in October of 2014 to not include funding for the assisted living facility in the 2015 budget. The decision was approved by a majority vote. The commissioners voted in December to close the operations at the county home because of the lack of funding.
Pleasant View Rest Home
The Pulaski County Council members will need more information from the state to see if any severance pay can be issued to the employees at Pleasant View Rest Home.
The council members discussed the issue briefly Monday night.
The county home is expected to close on March 31, and the commissioners had discussed the possibility of severance pay last week. County Attorney Kevin Tankersley previously said the county can’t give bonuses. The money isn’t theirs to spend in that kind of fashion. Tankersley also said the county can’t pay for work that isn’t done.
A new Pulaski County Council member was chosen by a Republican Party Caucus last week.
Republican Chairman Blair Todd told WKVI News that former Pulaski County Commissioner Michael “Big Mike” Tiede was selected in a second round of voting to fill the District 4 seat vacated by Mick Tiede.
Mick Tiede stepped down from his Pulaski County Council seat in order to retain his part-time job in the Pulaski County Assessor’s office. State and local statutes do not allow a county employee to hold a county council seat.
A Republican caucus will be held next week to fill a vacancy on the Pulaski County Council.
Pulaski County Republican Chairman Blair Todd told WKVI News that the three precinct committeeman in Cass, White Post and Salem Townships will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. ET at the Pulaski County Public Library in Winamac to select a candidate in District 4.
The Pulaski County Council added a line item in the surveyor’s budget in order to finance attorney services and engineering costs.
In a joint session with the commissioners, it was explained that the attorney is doing extra litigation work that would need additional compensation to complete. Tim Murray is the attorney for the surveyor’s office.
Pulaski County Attorney Kevin Tankersley explained a unique contract situation to the county council this week and requested an additional appropriation to cover the contract.
Four County Counseling informed the commissioners in the last part of 2014 that the county owes the company for ten years of miscalculated funds. The contract is mandated by the state. Even though Tankersley pointed out to their attorney the fact that the county signed an agreement with Four County Counseling for a specific annual amount for the past ten years, the company claims that the county owes them $16,117.38.
A committee will look into wages and salaries in the coming weeks in Pulaski County.
EMS Director Nikki Lowry begged the Pulaski County Council for help as she cannot keep staff in her department. She said she is in desperate need for paramedics, but the county’s wages and benefits don’t entice potential applicants to work with the county. According to Lowry, first-year staff members don’t get any extra time off.
The Pulaski County Council last night did not act on the change in personnel at the county highway department.
Council President Jay Sullivan looked over the paperwork and commented that the personnel change did not include a change in the money budgeted for the two positions. He believed that the only reason the council would need to act was if there was an additional appropriation or transfer because salaries would change. Two employees changed job descriptions.
The commissioners voted in January to appoint a person as general foreman. That is the usual action of the highway superintendent. Terry Ruff was placed into that position while Travis Holiday was dropped to a foreman position.
The Pulaski County Commissioners and the Pulaski County Council will meet in joint session tonight.
One item the joint board is expected to discuss is the change in the salary ordinance in the highway department. When the commissioners met on Jan. 19, the members voted 2-1 to appoint a person in the position that is second in command at the department. The highway superintendent normally makes that appointment, but Commissioner Bud Krohn, Jr., who spearheaded the move, called it a political change. He presented the change for a vote. Terry Young also voted in favor of the change while Commission President Larry Brady was the dissenting vote.
The Pulaski County Council this week discussed an ordinance that pertains to allowing sheriff’s deputies to be issued a firearm, retired ID card and retired badge after serving honorably for a minimum of 20 years.
In this case, Paul Grandstaff retired in December after serving over 20 years with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, including two terms as sheriff, and he has requested the retention of his shotgun that he first received when arriving on staff at the department.
Pulaski County Justice Center
The Pulaski County Council reorganized for the year where Jay Sullivan was retained as president of the fiscal body while Roger Querry was appointed as vice president. The council also welcomed newly elected member Linda Powers.
Sheriff Jeff Richwine told the council that three new deputies have been hired and he requested $6,000 to be transferred so a part-time officer can cover their absence while they’re at the academy. Two officers will be sent to the academy in March and one officer will go after the first two come back. When the officers complete their training, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department should be fully staffed with eight deputies. The transfer was unanimously approved.
Pulaski County Prosecutor Daniel Murphy approached the county council this week to ask the council members to accept his full-time employment and wages as he begins his four-year term in the office. That request was unanimously approved.
Crystal Sanders was appointed as deputy prosecutor.
He also asked for a transfer of $6,000 to satisfy the installation of money to the pre-trial diversion line item in the budget. The prosecutor requested that the money be moved from the pre-trial diversion user fees.