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Board ponders replacing retired workers

By Staff | Aug 12, 2012

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners expressed conflicting opinions over the replacement of county maintenence employees.

The retirement of two long-time county employees, Gary Hill and George Murphy, brought the discussion of hiring replacements to the table at the Aug. 7 board meeting.

After hearing conflicting ideas on the matter the motion to begin advertising to fill the open positions passed.

Commissioner Greg Young first suggested discussing the idea of privatizing some of the work.

However, John McDonald didn’t feel that would be an option for their department.

“Privatizing doesn’t work as well from a maintenance standpoint,”?McDonald says. “We want to keep the control in our hands when it comes to things like snowplowing that needs to be done in a timely matter.”

But, Commissioner Tom Loveall agrees this idea might be worth looking into.

“With these two employees retiring, this would be the perfect opportunity to look into privatizing some of the work,”?he says.

They are not overly staffed and would like to keep the maintenence work in house as it has been.

Commissioner Tom Warmka agreed with McDonald.

“Sometimes when you privatize work, they do the minimum of what is stated in their contracts,” he adds.

Although the motion passed, the board still requested McDonald come to the upcoming budget meeting prepared to discuss the idea further.

“Maybe we can privatize in areas other than snowplowing,”?Commissioner Bill Groskreutz says.

McDonald also took some time to update the board on other work the county maintenence staff has been doing, including a lot of bridge work.

“There are over 250 bridges in the county,”?McDonald says. “This is why I’m constantly harping about bridge bonding.”

Most of the bridge projects the county does are funded by state bridge bonding.

McDonald also took bids on both road striping and gravel crushing.

The low bid for gravel crushing went to Knopik Crushing out of Inver Grove Heights.

That bid came in at $256,500, compared to the engineer’s estimate of $300,000. The contract states that the contractor is to crush 100,000 tons of gravel by Dec. 1.

The lowest bid for road striping was from Triple A which came in around $79,000 due to an increase in the price of white paint. The engineers estimate was $77,000.

“We try to do a third of the roads in the county every year,”?McDonald adds.

In other business;

Sheriff Mike Gormley came to the board to approve an agreement between the Faribault County Sheriff’s office and the Wells and Blue Earth Police Departments.

The agreements need to be approved to meet National Crime Information Center and the Criminal Justice Information System’s standards.

“We do dispatching for all of the communities in the county,”?Gormley explains. “This is just a formality to continue what we’re already doing.”

Linsey Warmka attended the meeting to update the board on the Faribault County Development Corporations’s projects.

She presented information concerning the Facade Grant Program to the board.

This is a grant that businesses can apply for which will help to improve the outside of the buildings.

“The grant is good for $2,000 or a third of the cost of the project, whichever is the lesser amount,”?she explains.

They have already had two people interested in the grant, so Warmka is confident it will be a good project.

Loveall also commented on the work Warmka has accomplished.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about you,”?he says. “The people are getting consistency and you seem to have the right personality for the job.”