Williams County Commissioners Consult With Sheriff Over Vehicles

Lt. Greg Ruskey of the Williams County Sheriff’s Department appeared before the board Dec. 8 to update commissioners on the fleet.

The sheriff’s repair line in the budget has been exhausted and a new problem has appeared on one of the cars, Ruskey said.

Two cars, 8615 and 8617 will be rotated out of circulation next year.

Ruskey asked if he could submit requests for two new sedans this year or wait until January. The county closes its books later this week, so Ruskey had to get the invoices in by Dec. 15.

“If you can get (pending invoices) in, we will do it,” Commissioner Lewis Hilkert said.

The sheriff’s budget is getting bare with money only left in wages and another line item.

The commissioners heard from JFS Executive Director Fred Lord who gave his monthly update.

Morale and efficiency are improving at the department as management is talking about problems and new processes are being instituted to make like easier.

Several new hires are changing the face of the office.

“People are working overtime, voluntarily,” Caseworker Erin Hillman said. At almost four years on the job, she is one of the senior members on the staff. “They are helping with the backlog.”

“People want to make improvements,” Jane Yahraus said.

Yahrause and Lord attended a statewide meeting for JFS recently and discussed problems with new way of handling Medicaid claims. The new system is fraught with problems.

Seventy-five thousand Medicaid cards didn’t go out, Yahraus said. The problem is with a family of five with a relative and friend living with them means a total of seven cards for one household.

When the cards didn’t go out, people were frantic and told by the state to call their local office and if no help to call their commissioners, Yahraus said.

Hillman said the technical issues with the new system is astounding. Where the old system could handle a case in 15 minutes, the new one requires an hour.

Locally, a reorganization of the staff, placing more personnel on the service side is clearing up the backlog. That means more work for supervisors, Lord said.

Also anything job related has been moved out to the office in the East Annex.

Lord did say the department could use a different room to handle observed visitations. The present room is inadequate.

When asked if a house would work and if Montpelier would work, Commissioner Brian Davis told Lord to let the board make some inquiries.

Resolutions approved by the Williams Board of County Commissioners Dec. 5:

518 – Hire Amanda Hartzell as recommended by Fred Lord, executive director of the Williams County Department of Jobs and Family Services, as Eligibility Referral Specialist 2. Her first day is Dec. 12.

520 – A memorandum of understanding between the Williams County Health District and the Williams County Communications Agency for utilization of a Language Line service. The rates are $3.50 a minute for Spanish and $4 per minute for all other languages.
The Communications Agency will bill the Health District when the service is used.

521 – Approved an update to the Local Emergency Planning Group’s roster.
Fire Hazmat – Bruce Siders, Dail Fritsch and Doug Pool
Health – Jim Watkins
Hospital – Joe Schlosser and Mike Cutler
Industry – Bill Stipe and Darin Thorp
EMA/911 – Don Bulla and Dawn Baldwin
Red Cross – Catherine Reed
Media – Jean Wise
Transportation – Todd Roth
Community Group – Jim Walker
Elected Official – Brian Davis
Environmental – Brad Price
Law – Steve Towns

Actions taken by the board Dec. 8:
522 – The county approved a lease with the Department of Jobs and Family Services on a lease agreement for 15,217 square feet of space on the first and second floor of a building at 117 W. Butler, Bryan. The rent is $693.23 per month. The lease runs all of 2017.

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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