Assistant hired for county attorney’s office


County attorney Elizabeth Baskerville told the Board of County Commissioners on Monday that she has hired an assistant for county attorney business. Starla Nelson is working ¾ time beginning Jan. 11.

She also reported that she continues to look into hiring someone to do the county’s tax sale. She said if a third party could get the back-taxes list cleaned up, her office may be able to keep it caught up.

She also told the board that Linn city and rural fire departments want to consolidate because it is the same people. She said the merger would take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, if approved.

In other business:

• Tourism director Gloria Moore said she is in need of photographers to supply photos for tourism publications.

• The commissioners discussed Christmas holiday pay for 2021 as they officially set the 2021 holidays. County employees have been getting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as paid holidays. This year, Christmas Day is a Saturday. The board discussed whether to pay employees for Friday only (and Saturday for those in dispatch and law enforcement who would be working on Saturday) or for Friday and Monday. The issue was that dispatch, jailers and deputies will be working on Christmas Day while the rest of the county employees do not typically work on weekends. It was the consensus of the board to make Friday and Monday the holidays and pay holiday pay on Friday, Dec. 24, and Monday, Dec. 27, and those who work on Dec. 25 will not receive holiday pay. The same process will work for New Year’s, too.

• The board discussed department appointments and discussed the health officer position. The group decided to speak with Tiffany Hayman next week to ask about that position and consider who to appoint to it. Commissioner Raleigh Ordoyne said it was time for Hayman to meet with the commissioners again anyway and provide an update. She hasn’t met with the board in several weeks.

• The board did not at all discuss the county wide mask mandate.

• Jake Pannbacker stopped in to tell the commissioners that there is a log jam by a bridge near his house, and there is concern for the bridge being eventually wiped out. He said it’s an ongoing issue that needs maintenance every few years. He said he called the county shop in about early December but hasn’t seen anything come of it. The commissioners passed the message along to Road and Bridge supervisor Justin Novak.

• Willbrant said he had contact from Marla Strunk about Highland Township roads that were “not good.” Novak said he is not graveling some of the roads anymore because he didn’t think it was a good use of taxpayer dollars. The area around 25th to 26th Road near the hog buildings was the main area discussed. Willbrant said some of those roads get a lot of traffic, and townships usually gravel roads to people houses, at least. Willbrant also told Novak that he needs to get commissioners’ approval next time before he makes the decision to stop graveling roads.