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Grundy County Personnel Committee discusses hires

MORRIS – The Grundy County Personnel Committee further discussed details about new administrator Heidi Miller’s contract and job description Thursday.

Miller, who also is the land use director, was interim county administrator up until Tuesday’s Grundy County Board meeting where she was made full-time administrator. The board approved her hiring, but not her contract yet.

Miller said Thursday she is willing to retain many of her job duties as a land use planner and director while acting as the administrator without taking a pay bump for the added duties.

“I think that this could save the county some money,” Miller said during Thursday’s Personnel Committee meeting.

Miller said she would retain 25 to 30 percent of her duties as land use director. Immediately, Miller would finish the county’s comprehensive plan, sewage and drainage plan and land use plan because she has already worked extensively on the three major plans.

“To bring in someone else at this point would, I think, be silly,” she said.

Miller proposed hiring a building and zoning officer to work in the department. Land use assistant Cheryl Wardell will help manage the department, but does not have the qualifications needed to conduct building inspections so a building and zoning officer will be needed.

Debate over whether the county would hire an officer full- or part-time hinged on how much the county is developing.

Miller said she currently conducts about three inspections per week, but that could be higher this coming year as Diamond residents and business owners start to rebuild after the November tornado that devastated the area.

Neither Miller’s contract nor the proposed building and zoning position were voted on by the committee.

The Personnel Committee also discussed giving drug screening tests to potential employees. Currently, some county departments administer the tests, but several do not.

“At the highway department, they do random drug screens every quarter,” Human Resources Director Debra Johnson said. “Some of your departments are already doing this.”

Urine drug tests would cost the county around $40 per new hire, Johnson said. Last year, the county had 15 new hires.

Since the expense could add up, the committee discussed having potential employees pay for their own drug tests as a way to save the county money.

“With a job offer, make it conditional on if they pass the drug test,” committee chairwoman Vicki Geiger said. “And then they could pay for it.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Perry Rudman suggested using hair follicle drug tests in place of the standard urine tests to make the testing more thorough. He argued that urine tests will only show drug use within the last two days while hair tests will go back 30 to 60 days. 

He said doing the urine tests that only account for two days are essentially a waste of money since any drug user could stop for a short period to achieve a negative result.

Since the county is in the process of hiring a handful of new employees, Johnson said she will look into drafting a more concrete drug test policy.

Some of the new jobs at the county include a technology director, maintenance director and administrative assistant.

The committee hammered out and approved job descriptions for the three positions during the meeting.

According to Geiger, the county has already made an offer for the maintenance director position.

“I know Heidi and Sandy [Pommier] and Debra put a lot of work into [the descriptions] so thank you,” Geiger said.

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