Friday, December 23, 2011

Employee Meeting, County Board Meeting and the Human Service Board Meeting

Cook County Employee Assistance Meeting re:  12/15/11 Courthouse Shooting
An all-employee group meeting was held in the Commissioner's Room from 8 am to just about 9 am.  Facilitated by the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselors, this meeting was well attended by county employees.  Information regarding the 12/15/11 shooting at the Courthouse was presented by Sheriff Mark Falk.  Information regarding Traumatic Stress and counseling services available was presented by EAP counselors and staff.  Information on additional mental health services was provided by Janet Simonen.

Around 9 am, employees broke into small groups facilitated by EAP counselors to talk about the incident, as well as give and receive support to/from co-workers.  While attendance and  participation was encouraged, these meetings were completely voluntary.

Employees (and community members) are encouraged to a) talk about the incident and share their feelings, and b) exercise.  Talking and exercising will aid the healing process.

For more information about the 12/15/11 incident, go to WTIP and listen to interviews with Sheriff Mark Falk and County Board Chair Jim Johnson.  

County Board Meeting
County Board Chair Jim Johnson and Commissioners Hakes, Hall, Martinson and Sobanja were all present for the December 20 County Board Meeting.  Also present were Janet Simonen and Braidy Powers.

Public Comment 
Jim Hall requested the County Board work with the Sheriff and the State to ensure the safety of jurors and others working in the judicial process.

Land Commissioner, Mary Black

As recommended by Mary Black, the County Board approved an abatement request from Property Owner Grant Merritt for the removal of value for land underneath Lost Lake.

Agreement to Initiate Superior National Forest and Cook County Land Exchange (Case #4552)
County Board approved the draft Agreement to Initiate the land exchange with the Forest Service for the county land within the BWCAW.  The draft is approved subject to review by Molly Hicken (or other attorney, i.e., Lake County attorney, as recommended by Molly Hicken).

Highway Department
Final payment to Edwin E. Thoreson, Inc. for CR 62 West (storm work in Creechville) was approved for $17,005.51 bringing the final cost of the project to $69,149.15.

Board Per Diem and Salary
The County Board set Cook County Commissioner per diems and salary for 2012 at the same rate as 2011; no increase.

Emergency Management Performance Grant
Cook County has been awarded an emergency management performance grant in the amount of $15,499; the board approved this grant as recommended by Jim Wiinanen

Fund Balances
At the request of the County Board, Braidy Powers provided a comparison of fund balances for all 87 counties in MN for 2008 and 2009.  Cook County is in the top 25% of all counties in unreserved fund balance as a percent of total current expenditures.

Safety Committee
Janet Simonen informed the Board that the Safety Committee will be providing a list of all activities in the year 2011.  The Board also approved a capital purchase request for an additional Lifepak 500, bio-certified AED defibrillator as budgeted.

The County Board also discussed the need to work with Law Enforcement, Emergency Services, the State and other entities to review the County's security equipment, procedures and policies.

One Percent Projects
A Worksession to discuss One Percent projects was cancelled for 12/20 and rescheduled for 10:30 to 12:30 on January 24 during the regular County Board meeting.

Cook County Emergency Operations Plan
The County Emergency Operations Plan was reviewed and approved by the County Board as presented by Jim Wiinanen.

Cook County Human Services Board Meeting
The Human Services Board Meeting was called to order by Chair Sue Hakes at 1:00 pm.  Others Board Members in attendance were Jan Hall, Jim Johnson, Bruce Martinson, Carla LaPointe, Fritz Sobanja.  Diane Fitzgerald was absent.

Committee Reports
Committee reports were given for meetings that occurred the past month.  Sue Futterer announced that Carla LaPointe will be the new chair for the Public Health & Human Services Advisory Committee.

Adults and Children with Disabilities
Social Worker, Linda Waterhouse, gave the Board a presentation on her work as the Case Manager for the Developmental Disabilities Program.  The target population served by this program is adults and children with a diagnosis of Mental Retardation or a related condition such as Autism, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy.

Waterhouse provided some background information noting that the US Congress passed the first Development Disabilities (DD) Act in 1974.  Minnesota followed this landmark legislation by committing to case management for persons with mental retardation or related conditions in 1977.  As case manager, Waterhouse works with the person and his/her family to identify their unique needs.  The case manager assists the person and his/her family with locating resources to meet their service and support needs and assures continuity of quality services and supports.

Currently there are 25 cases in Cook County ranging in age of persons from 4 to 83.  The focus is on Consumer Directed Community Support which enables the recipient to stay in the community and costs less to support.

Waterhouse was open about the work she finds rewarding, answered questions and was off to an appointment.

Financial Report
Income Maintenance and Fiscal Supervisor Jan Parish presented the November 30, 2011 Finance Report.  And as a complement to the presentation from Linda Waterhouse, Parish explained the basics of waivered services for families developing Consumer Directed Community Support Program for Adults and Children with Developmental Disabilities.

Director's Report, Sue Futterer
Director Sue Futterer reported the following;
a) A Region 3 Redesign Meeting will be held on January 31 at IRRB in Eveleth, MN; the agenda is forthcoming.
b)  A purchase of service agreement between Cook County and Gregory A. Barnier & Associates is being completed.
c)  HDC has hired a mental health counselor, Dr. Webb, who will begin January 2, 2012.
d)  Cook and Carlton Counties will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Text4Life program for suicide prevention,

Purchase of Service Agreements
Several Purchase of Service Agreements for Cook County were approved by the Board including agreements with NS Hospital and Care Center, AEOA and the Women's Health Center of Duluth.