With a $25.5 million increase to Wisconsin's Child and Family Aids Program in the state budget as of June 5, the Pierce County Human Services department was given a positive recommendation by the Finance and Personnel Committee for two new state-funded Child Protective Services workers.
Pierce County Human Services Director Ron Schmidt is still awaiting a final report of what the state will allocate to Pierce County's funds, but estimates around $188,000 will be available for the two new positions. One CPS worker will be responsible for initial assessment of cases and the other's duties will be ongoing for cases.
Finance and Personnel and County Board Chairman Jeff Holst said he is in favor of the two CPS workers as the one complements the other and both complement the department.
Another state-funded social worker was approved by the committee, one comprehensive community services position. If given final approval by the County Board, the one new CCS worker will start Jan. 1.
The request for a second state-funded CCS worker was given a tied vote 3-3, which is recorded as a failed vote to send forward to the board. Those who cast a negative vote were Jon Aubart, Jerry Kosin and Jeff Holst.
Human Services has faces challenges such as widespread and urgent need to handle cases which are on a waitlist and having office space limitations. In discussion of the CCS program's challenges, Jon Aubart, Finance and Personnel vice-chair, said there are some counties out there that contract CCS and waiting lists are absorbed. He said this could be a possible solution for Pierce County given space limitations.
Schmidt said in a later phone interview that he is in favor of contracting services out.
Administrative Coordinator Jason Matthys said the county would have to "play a little chess game and get creative" when finding space for the CPS workers. A group or program that does not have regular facetime may need to relocate.
• All other personnel requests were approved by the Finance and Personnel Committee, including:
• Operations Data Analyst in the Administration department. County cost is estimated at $91,278.
• Deputy Register in Probate increase hours by 20% in the Probate department. County cost is estimated at $10,156.
• Service Coordinator - birth to three in the Public Health department. County cost is estimated at $53,576.
• Lead/ Sergeant Dispatch in the Sheriff's department. County cost is estimated at $3,590.
• Sergeant Patrol in the Sheriff's department. County cost is estimated at $4,200.
• If given final approval by the County Board, the Pierce County Fairgrounds may have wifi available to the public after the Finance and Personnel Committee gave a positive recommendation for Northfield WiFi to be given space on the Ellsworth communications tower for service. Vendors have been in need of reliable wifi to run their mobile credit card payments through during the fair according to Administrative Coordinator Jason Matthys.
• Register of Deeds was given a positive recommendation for one of two bids received for a scanning project, which will record all the office's old documents. The approved bidder, On Q Solutions, will complete on-site scanning with double inspection from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for 40 days for a grand total cost of $127,489.41.
• The committee gave positive vote for planning a county employee appreciation day in September, where all employees would be welcome from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to visit and eat.