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home : news : news Sunday, May 1, 2016

7/13/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Regional mental health group to open meetings to public

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

A working group developing a formal 28E agreement for the Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region will begin posting public notice of its meetings and making minutes available after state officials said they received complaints about a lack of access.

Clinton County supervisor Jill Davisson said at the July 8 board of supervisors meeting the issue was brought up by Renee Schulte of the Iowa Department of Human Services last week at a meeting of the administrative rules committee for the mental health redesign.

"It was brought to my attention our region should be meeting with full boards and posting the agendas of the meeting," Davisson said.

Currently, just one member of the board of supervisors from each of the five counties involved in the region have been meeting as part of the working group, along with central point coordinators from each of the counties.

The region is comprised of Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Scott and Muscatine counties.

Clinton County auditor Eric Van Lancker questioned whether agendas and minutes are required, since the region will not be formally established until the counties approve a 28E agreement.

Davisson said she made that case, but, "They're saying because we're a governing board we should be posting."

Supervisor Brian Schmidt said the region isn't yet a governing board because the 28E agreement isn't in place.

In an e-mail shortly following the meeting, Scott County administrator Dee Bruememer said supervisors from the member counties will meet at 6 p.m., Aug. 6, at the auditorium at the Clinton County fairgrounds for a presentation on the final report and recommendations for development of the mental health region.

Bruemmer stated she will be working with staff to publish public notice of the meeting and to record the minutes for all members.

In related business, Davisson said it appears the rules for mental health regions will prevent the eastern Iowa group from using central point coordinators as the regional administrator on a rotating basis.

"So there's definitely going to be a cost increase with the administrator," Schmidt observed.

Davisson said it will be several months at least before the county receives any mental health transition funding because the region must approve a 28E agreement first.

"So the odds of us getting those transition funds before October or November aren't good," she said.

Extra time for interim zoning director

The board authorized interim zoning administrator Paul Ketelsen to work up to 10 hours per week through the end of July to help train newly-hired zoning director Nate Mueller.

Mueller told the board he has been on the job for three weeks and has "gotten his feet wet" but still needs additional assistance.

"There are just some things I won't get exposed to until they come up," he said.

Ketelsen said the extra cost could require an amendment to the zoning department's budget.

"This was not discussed previously. There may be room in the budget, but there could be some budgetary issues that come up," Ketelsen said, especially with the cost of purchasing office equipment when county offices in DeWitt move to the new annex building next February.

Building maintenance manager Corey Johnson reported the contractor working on renovations to the new annex has started construction and remains on track for a February completion date.

Other business

In other business, the board:

•Scheduled a public hearing on an application for a confinement feeding operation from Matthew Mommsen for 10 a.m., July 22.

•Approved the cash-on-hand report for various departments as of July 1.

•Approved the appointment of Nathan Bormann as correctional officer at the jail at an hourly rate of $15.97.

•Authorized F&B Communications to install fiber optic cable along county right-of-way in Spring Rock and Liberty townships.

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