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Nobles County to fill vacancies in Family Services

WORTHINGTON -- Requests to replace two employees in the Family Service Agency were approved Tuesday morning by Nobles County commissioners, but the agency will need to reassess just how large of a caseload can be placed on employees.

WORTHINGTON -- Requests to replace two employees in the Family Service Agency were approved Tuesday morning by Nobles County commissioners, but the agency will need to reassess just how large of a caseload can be placed on employees.

FSA Director Nicole Names said resignations were received within the past two weeks from a social worker and a case aid employee. The social worker handled 22 or 23 cases, doing investigations and working with families. The case aid was the only one in the agency and worked on nearly 75 child care cases, assisted in child protection, did data entry and reporting and provided transportation related to case work.

Names said both positions are necessary and need to be filled.

"We have about 100 cases (in social work), and would not be able to manage without the position," she said.

As for the case aid, Names said, "She's heavily relied on in her position. We need this position filled to continue to operate."

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The two individuals who resigned their positions have accepted jobs in other counties.

Nobles County Administrator Mel Ruppert said he met with family services a week ago to discuss the resignations and the number of caseloads.

"There's no question with the economy the way it is, it places a large load on human services," Ruppert said. "Staff has done a good job in managing those cases as well as they can, but we're seeing some burnout."

"We are going to be reviewing all of our staff -- all of our caseloads -- and seeing if there can be some reorganization," said Names. "We have some work ahead as we continue to look at our staff resources and try to manage our volume."

In other action, the board:

* Approved the advertisement of bids for 2011 bituminous surfacing projects. Roads slated for resurfacing are County State Aid Highway 6, from CSAH 4 to Minnesota 60; CSAH 9, from CSAH 6 to CSAH 25 at Reading; and CSAH 14, from CSAH 13 to CSAH 25 at Reading.

In addition, rumble strips will be placed along CSAH 17, between CSAH 6 and Minnesota 91, and along CSAH 6 between Minnesota 91 and CSAH 13.

Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said the resurfacing work on CSAH 6 will include adding more intakes under the railroad bridge to alleviate some of the flooding issues. Removal of old layers of bituminous will also be done at that site to try to get more clearance under the bridge.

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Bid opening for the work is slated for 1:30 p.m. April 4 at the administration office.

* Approved a request from Olney Township to be reimbursed $2,090.12 for repairs needed on a road grader it purchased from the county. During its first use by the township, it was discovered the alternator needed to be replaced and a cylinder on the lift was leaking and needed repair.

"If we had known about these things, we would have fixed them before they got the machine," Schnieder told the board, adding that the grader was sold "as-is." He also said it was a legitimate request because the problems were found on the first day the township used the grader.

* Discussed a letter from Nobles County Farm Bureau President Dean Christopherson regarding bridges in the county. Schnieder said his office is working on a series of projects in preparation for a potential advance in funding to make the needed repairs.

"The county could do bonding for its bridges if we needed to," said Commissioner David Benson, adding that he would prefer not to have to do that. "With the effect on the population and the economy ... it's something we might have to consider."

* Approved conditional use permits for AT&T Corp., of Mokena, Ill., to move a fiber optic cable booster station onto a parcel in the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 28, Larkin Township; and a permit for Scott Schettler of Wilmont to construct a 40- by 128-foot livestock shed on a new feedlot in the north half of the northwest quarter of Section 23, Wilmont Township.

* Accepted the 2010 annual county feedlot officer and performance credit report. Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith reported there are 484 feedlots in the county that are registered through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The county receives a state grant of $45,738 for the feedlot registration, which requires a county match of $32,017 that was budgeted.

* Approved appropriation requests as follows: Nobles County Art Center, first half, $3,187.50; Nobles County Fair Association, first half, $9,935; Nobles County Historical Society, first half, $11,900; and Manna Food Pantry, annual, $2,500.

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* Approved a contract change with the Department of Human Services for Minnesota Care application processing. Because the county's Family Service Agency has seen an increase in the number of applicants, the state will reimburse it an additional $3,000 per year.

* Approved a resolution supporting Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council -- in conjunction with Western Community Action -- to provide homelessness assistance programming in Nobles County.

* Appointed Commissioner Bob Demuth to the joint jurisdictional committee in place of Commissioner Diane Thier. The committee is tasked with discussing any zoning issues within the half-mile area outside Worthington's city limits.

* Set a county strategic planning meeting for 9:30 a.m. March 29 at the executive conference room for commissioners to discuss ongoing projects and issues.

Related Topics: FAMILY
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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