Amid difficulties in finding qualified workers to suit the county’s needs and to potentially save money, some positions in Colfax County are being combined.
During the Colfax County Board of Commissioners’ Nov. 9 meeting, a measure to merge zoning administrator with road clerical and flood plain administrator with emergency manager was approved.
Once current Planning and Zoning/Flood Plain Administrator Sharon Oltmer retires Dec. 15, current road clerk Nancy Marty will take over as the planning and zoning administrator. Marty will keep her clerical duties with the highway department and take on the planning and zoning responsibilities. In her new position, she will be a full time employee working a 35-hour work week.
“She’s been in that role of the clerical at the roads department for several years,” District 2 Commissioner Carl E. Grotelueschen told the Schuyler Sun on Nov. 11. “She has a real good handle on it and I think she’s great at some efficiencies out there, so she has some extra time and that’s why we combined those two positions.”
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As discussed during the Nov. 9 meeting, Marty will receive a salary increase of $3.50 per hour. Emergency Manager Mark Arps will take over the duties of the flood plain administrator, for which he will be compensated an additional $100 per month.
Grotelueschen said on Nov. 11 that the cost saving comes from that part time road clerical position being removed, though the final amount the county will save won't be available until after the employees officially start in their new positions.
In other cost saving measures, Colfax County will also be eliminating its assistant highway superintendent position.
Justin Laudenklos had previously served in that capacity but he’s being moved to the highway superintendent role. Arps was the previous highway superintendent who had also in charge of emergency management. With Laudenklos sliding into the superintendent position, Arps will now be the full-time emergency manager – and also the flood plain administrator.
Although Laudenklos and Arps are fully serving in their new capacities, it won’t be official until January. Marty will be officially appointed then as well.
“All of those appointments happen at the beginning of the calendar year,” Grotelueschen said.
For some, the new positions also mean a new office. Once Oltmer retires Arps will move into her office at the Colfax County Courthouse. He currently works out of the Colfax County Highway Department building, 466 Road 10 in Schuyler.
Grotelueschen noted that having Arps located in the courthouse is better suited for his position.
Currently Oltmer’s office is only open certain days of the week but once Marty takes over, the planning and zoning office will be available five days a week and housed at the highway department.
In similar news, commissioners heard a request from 5th Judicial District Judge Christina Marroquin regarding the future of the zoning administrator office space, which is next to the court. Marroquin noted the door to her chambers is not secure or soundproof and a lack of available working space.
“We've had some instances where counsel comes back and our conversations even if they're not loud, and sometimes they're a little loud, are overheard. And so there's kind of a privacy issue with that door,” Marroquin said.
Commissioners noted there are already plans for that office but said the door could be worked on.
“Maybe there's something we could do to help make things more secure … something with the door to make it more secure and soundproof,” District 3 Commissioner Jim Mejstrik said.
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.