June 12, 2023 at 3:24 p.m.
WALKER— Cass County probation officer Abby Skwira was named 2023 Outstanding performace award as Rookie Agent of the Year by the Minnesota Association of County Probation Officers. Skwira was honored Tuesday, June 6, by the Cass County Board of Commissioners.
Though information on the award was listed under the board’s consent agenda, Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk, acting as board chair in the absence of Commissioner Scott Bruns, had the award placed on the regular agenda so commissioners and staff coulf publicly acknowledge and congratulate Skwira.
The award is presented to a new probation officer who has demonstrated abundant potential and professionalism in their early career and presents a strong desire to learn on the job, participates in a variety of training opportunities demonstrates enthusiasm and a positive attitude and works collaboratively with other more experienced probation officers/agents.
County Administrator Josh Stevenson then shared a strategy from the Opioid settelment committee with the board on how to staff the Cass County opioid liaison position. With funding coming from various sources it was suggested to hire an additional public health nurse position in place of the current public health educator position, formerly a State Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) Coordinator position, that is currently open. The open position is funded through a grant in the amount of $143,000 and requires the county to employee someone on a full time basis. Stevenson said by combining this position with the opioid liaison the county can utilize the grant money for SHIP along with the $108,000 a year the county is receiving from the opioid settlement without exhausting the funds on salary.
Stephenson also said Health, Human Veterans Services is eligible for a workforce grant of $145,000 over the next five years to support new positions. The committee felt by using a “team” approach to the opiod response would provide a multi-faceted approach and allow duties to be shared. A motion by Commissioner Bob Kangas and seconded by Commissioner Rick Haaland to advertise and fill a new position for a public health nurse was approved unanimously.
Kevin Lee, ambulance services manager for North Memorial Health, presented the first quarter Longville ambulance report. Lee said revenue was unfavorable by $4,085 due to slower volumes, however the billed patients was similar to last year during the same period. He also said first quarter expenses were favorable to the budgeted amounts by $6,405.
Lee also updated board members on the Resident EMT program started last year, where North Memorial Health pays for people to attend EMT classes in exchange for one year of service as an EMT. One student graduated in May and a new student was starting their training. Lee also said they are beginning to offer to send recruits to paramedic school in exchange for employment.
In other business, the county board:
• Adopted a resolution recognizing Juneteenth (June 19) as a county holiday due to the newly law passed by the state of Minnesota recognizing this holiday.
• Approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Cass County and employee unions regarding the recognization of Juneteenth as a County holiday.
• Approved having 1% of local assistance and tribal consistency funds for the next two years be paid to the National Center for Public Lands to support their efforts. If a majority of the counties in Minnesota support this effort an official request with specific dollar amounts will come back before the board for approval.
• Approved the 2023 Capital Improvement Plan after the public hearing was held, with no public comments being received.
• Approved use of county land in conjunction with the 2023 Chippewa Triathlon, contingent upon receiving a certificate of liability insurance.
• Adopted a resolution approving the donation of a parcel from Northern Waters Land Trust and approved updating the abstract in an amount not to exceed $1200.
• Approved the purchase of an easement in the amount of $500 in sections 10 and 15 in McKinley Township.
• The next meetings are as follows: Cass County Board of Equalization 2 p.m. Monday, June 12, at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker; annual planning work session 9 a.m. Friday, June 16 at the Land Department meeting room in Backus; Northern Minnesota Tribal County Relations Workshop 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 20 at Cedar Lakes Casino Hotel and Event Center, 6268 Upper Cass Frontage Road NW, Cass Lake and commissioner’s board meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 20 at Sylvan Township, 12956 24th Ave SW, Pillager.
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