’ rights in the spotlight “to score
political points” for re-election this fall. He said he formed the opinion
after reading several recent news articles and editorials.
“It is no secret,”
Evans said, that personnel costs comprise the majority of county budgets and
that employees are the county’s largest financial liability.
At the same time,
he said, personnel are the county’s largest asset. Employees perform many
essential services, like answering emergency calls, protecting the
environment, inspecting roads and bridges for safety, prosecuting criminals,
providing cultural and recreational programs, assessing homes and property
and enforcing zoning laws for orderly growth.
“Our employees work
hard every day to meet the needs of our citizens and deserve to be treated
with dignity and respect,” Evans said. “They should never be treated as
political pawns for election year gains.”
have received a “confidential” human resources report and Evans said the
board will be deciding what actions it should take. He said the county has
the funding means to create some form of a human resources department.
“There has been
enough talking and the time has come for action,” Evans said.
The report and its
confidentiality were raised by County Council members last Thursday, when
they said that they’ve never seen the report. Also County Auditor Robert
Wichlinski said he would like to get approval from the Commissioners to
eliminate the morning and afternoon 15-minute break periods in his office as
part of staff restructuring and extend the hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Evans said that the
Commissioners will not consider human resource policies for just a single
department. Any changes stemming from the human resources report would be
made across-the-board, for all employees.
He also stated that
changes to policies and benefits would be made with direct input from the
employees. A committee like the one addressing the health insurance changes
should be formed to field employee opinions, Evans said.
Also on Tuesday,
the Commissioners got a surprise gift from Portage resident Dave Clark, who
came across a collection of coins minted for Porter County’s Centennial
celebration in 1936 by the Centennial committee.
“I think these
belong to you,” Clark told the Commissioners.
that Clark take the coins to the Porter County Museum of History.
also approved the purchase of two copiers and an envelope printer for the
County Clerk’s office, from Adams Remco of Crown Point for $13,244.
County Clerk Karen
Martin and County ITS Director Sharon Lippens said the appliances will pay
for themselves in the next two years because they will significantly reduce
expenditures on copier maintenance, from $9,400 to an estimated $1,167 per
Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, complimented Martin and Lippens on the
Blaney, D-South, suggested a letter be sent to all department heads asking
whether they might be able to find new equipment which would provide savings
on overall maintenance costs.
also renewed an annual contract with Jasper County to house juveniles at the
Porter County Juvenile Detention Center for $11,000 plus an additional $110
for each day a juvenile is housed once the initial $11,000 is met.