County urges landfill to cover own workers comp

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Jones County Supervisors spent much time during their Oct. 15 board meeting discussing whether the Solid Waste Commission (landfill) should pay its own workers compensation insurance policy. 

Some of the supervisors were on opposite ends of the discussion. 

The conversation was facilitated after an incident at the landfill resulted in a workers comp claim covered by the county’s insurance policy. 

“I think they need to be on their own and address their own problems,” voiced Supervisor Wayne Manternach. “They’re not a county service.” 

County Auditor Janine Sulzner said the incident at the landfill would affect the county’s workers comp modification factor for a couple of years. 

Supervisor Ned Rohwedder disagreed with Manternach. 

“It’s not a significant savings to the county taking the landfill off,” he said. “It comes back to all citizens of Jones County because we’ll have to raise the rates to cover the expenses.” (Rohwedder sits on the landfill board.) 

Rohwdder said if the board chose to eliminate Solid Waste on workers comp, it needs to be done with plenty of notice so it could be built into their budget. 

“It’ll cost them twice as much to pay for it now,” he said. 

Rohwedder said he wanted more information about the claim in question before he made a decision one way or another. 

Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach questioned the landfill’s procedure policy, which led to the initial claim. “Do they have oversight of their safety procedures? Do they have a way to correct it so it doesn’t happen again?” 

“It’s a policy the county has no control over. If they make their own policies,” said Manternach, “they should be responsible for their own workers comp. We’re not directly responsible for their employees.” 

Manternach said the county has a 28E agreement with the landfill, and should the county cover workers comp for every entity with a shared 28E agreement. 

The board voted 3-2 to have Solid Waste cover their own workers comp insurance at the start of the next fiscal year, July 1, 2020. Supervisors Rohwedder and Joe Oswald were opposed. 

“We need to have representatives from Solid Waste come in and answer some questions,” urged Rohwedder. 

Sulzner suggested Solid Waste should discuss workplace safety procedures at their next meeting. “There are trainings offered through the insurance carrier (Insurance Associates),” she offered. 

Oswald asked how other counties handle insurance and workers comp for their landfill businesses. 

Sulzner reported that the landfill would have to cover roughly $6,000 a year for workers comp.

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