New wind turbines on target for early fall operations

Supes also hear about changes to collective bargaining

The 85 new wind turbines in MidAmerican Energy’s Beaver Creek Wind Park Two will be up by the end of the month and running sometime in the early fall. County environmental health coordinator Chuck Wenthold, who has been working closely with the project, provided that update at the Aug. 6 county supervisors meeting.

All tower components have now been delivered, he said, and 55 are completely set. Of those, 44 are completely wired and 34 have had their “walk downs.” About 83 percent of the cabling is completed.

“By early fall they (the construction crews) should be done and moving out,” Wenthold said.

The supervisors’ only action at the meeting was to approve a resolution to transfers into the secondary roads fund, with $51,500 coming from the general fund and $162,500 from the LOSST fund. The board also accepted the recorder’s report of fees for July.

Renee Von Bokern of Von Bokern and Associates, an Urbandale consulting firm the county uses for collective bargaining assistance, updated the supervisors on the 2017 changes the Iowa legislature made to collective bargaining. The union contracts with the sheriff’s office employees and the secondary roads employees expire June 30, 2019. The new contracts will be the first to be negotiated since the law changed.

Von Bokern explained that the unions must hold and win retention elections in October to continue to represent the employees. All employees whose positions are covered by the unit are eligible to vote, regardless of whether they’re union members. The union must receive a majority of all those in the union, not only a majority of those who vote in the election. Not voting is a de facto “no” vote in the election.

She also reminded the supervisors that many items, including insurance benefits, are no part of contract negotiations. Benefits, work conditions, and leave time are examples of items that will no longer be in the contract, but should be added to an employee handbook.

The supervisors meeting concluded with closed sessions for courthouse employee evaluations.

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