Board hires Herman as Community Services director

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     As of July 1, 2017, Jones County will have a new Community Services director.

     During the March 28 Board of Supervisors meeting, the board took action to hire Lucia Herman. She will replace current Director Deb Schultz who is retiring at the end of this fiscal year. Herman is currently the county’s case management supervisor.

     The board approved the hiring, 4-1, with Supervisor Wayne Manternach opposed. The motion included hiring Herman at the same salary as Schultz, $58,994, with the previously approved 3.5 percent increase.

     Herman told the board that she feels she is grossly underpaid compared to other community service directors throughout the region.

     “I have a degree in social work and am a licensed social worker,” she said. “I have experience with the MCOs, and I would continue taking on substantially more duties.” Herman said her licensing would allow her to do more with the mental health region, if needed.

     “I’m doing the same work, same job, as the rest of the directors in the region,” she added, “but without an assistant.”

     Herman for those reasons and more, she would like to see the county increase her salary to a comparable figure.

     Manternach said he knows Jones County is quite low when it comes to the salary for Community Services director.

     “It’s a hot button issue,” he said. Manternach asked Herman to bring in comparable numbers to show the board the range in salaries.

     Supervisor Joe Oswald asked if there would be some unknowns with the director position a year from now, with case management possibly leaving.

     “We will lose staff and four salaries in our office,” explained Herman. “But we’re not replacing people.”

     She added that every county within the region has equal representation on regional boards, equal duties within the region, yet she will be paid at a lower rate to do the same work as others.

     Supervisor Ned Rohwedder suggested conducting a 90- or 180-day review on Herman before increasing her salary to be in line with others.

     “We just don’t know exactly what the duties with this position are going to be,” he said.

     Again, Herman clarified that the director position, the same one that Schultz had been doing for 20 years, is not going anywhere.

     “The job exists 100 percent full time,” she said. “Plus I’ll be getting more duties and I’m willing to do additional work.”

     Schultz also chimed in saying she feels Herman should be paid more come July 1.

     “I think it needs to be higher,” Schultz said. “I really do. But where it ends up, that’s up to you.”

In other county business:

     • The board approved a notice to bidders for a new motor grader for Secondary Roads, to be purchased in FY 2018.

     The board approved a quote from Compliancy Group LLC for $4,200 to assist the county in remaining HIPAA compliant. The cost will cover three county sites that must be in compliance: the courthouse, Community Services, and Senior Dining.

     The board approved a contract with Tallgrass Archeology LLC for a Certified Local Government grant for Jones County Historic Preservation Commission to conduct a reconnaissance survey. The survey will be done throughout the county, looking for potential historically significant properties. The contract is in the amount of $14,780. Commission Chair Rose Rohr said they received a grant to help cover the costs of the consultant.

     The board approved plans for a bridge replacement project on 105th Avenue, at an estimated cost of $450,000. The project will be let in June, with possible construction yet this fall. County Engineer Derek Snead said, though, that he anticipates more of a spring construction start date.


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