Supes agree to new contract with deputies, hire ambulance staff

Greene County sheriff’s deputies will receive hefty wage increases in the next three years under a bargaining agreement agreed to by the county and AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the union to which sheriff’s office employees belong.

Wages paid to fulltime deputies will increase five times during the length of the contract as follows: July 1, 2019, 6 percent; Juan. 1, 2020, 4 percent; July 1, 2020, 4 percent; Jan. 1,2021, 3 percent; and July 1, 2021, 5 percent. The contract expires June 30, 2022.

The county supervisors approved the agreement at their regular meeting March 4. Union employees had already approved the tentative agreement.

According to county board chair John Muir, the increases will put deputies’ annual wages in three years on a par with deputies’ wages now in counties of similar size. Assuming those deputies receive wage increases in the coming years, Greene County deputies will still earn less than their peers, but the difference won’t be as great.

Fulltime jail officers will see wage increases of 3 percent on July 1, 2019; 1.5 percent on Jan. 1, 2020; 2.75 percent on July 1, 2020; and 2.75 percent on July 1, 2021.

Fulltime telecommunications officers will see a 3 percent raise on July 1, 2019, and 2.75 percent increases on July 1,2020 and July 1, 2021.

The total cost of the wage increases was not provided year by year or as an aggregate.

The supervisors also approved hires and wages for employees of the new Greene County Ambulance.

Michelle Madsen of Jefferson was hired as the permanent director and a paramedic at an annual salary of $58,000. Madsen has worked as a paramedic in the Greene County Medical Center emergency room for a year and has a total of 20 years’ experience as a paramedic.

Lacy Follett Brubaker, who served as interim director during the transition from the privately-owned Greene County EMS to the county-based service, was hired as a paramedic at an annual wage of $48,000. Lori Harrah was hired as a part-time RN exception paramedic at $20 per hour.

Mark Renslow and Mike Heinz were hired as fulltime EMTs at an annual wage of $38,000 and $32,000, respectively. The wage differs due to years of experience. Andy Hamilton, Chad Jones, Daniel Moranville, Richard Moranville, Ryan Moranville and Chris Anderson were hired as part-time EMTs at $17 per hour.

Openings remain for one fulltime paramedic and one fulltime EMT.

County engineer Wade Weiss, one week after a blizzard created extremely hazardous road conditions, asked the supervisors for a review of the county’s snow removal policy. The policy was adopted in 1984 and last reviewed in 2013. Weiss is looking for clarification of the policy in emergency conditions. He said his goal is not only the safety of the public, but also the safety of secondary roads employees and department equipment.

The policy defines an “emergency” as a situation in which loss of life is probable, where serious injury has occurred, or where extensive loss of property is imminent. Those conditions are to be verified by physicians or the sheriff’s office. The secondary roads department responds to all emergency conditions either during or after a snowstorm.

Weiss was concerned about what was expected of his department in a situation he was not sure met the definition of “emergency,” noting that the county’s insurance would not be in effect if the “emergency” policy was not correctly followed.

Juvenile court officer Emilea Lundberg updated the board. She noted that juvenile court numbers in 2017 and 2018 in Greene County “are as low as they’ve ever been” during her 24 years working in the county.

In the past year five teens were adjudicated in juvenile court, and four were waived to adult court. She said juveniles are waived to adult court based on their age or being a repeat offender.

She complimented Greene County school staff for dealing with student issues themselves. “The school does a good job handling things within the district. The school doesn’t just dump things on juvenile court,” Lundberg said.

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