Commissioners return clerk problem to fair manager, extension staff

TORRINGTON – Continuing discussions on how to staff positions for the Goshen County Fair office and Goshen County Extension, representatives from both entities presented their cases to the county commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday.
Stephanie Lofink, Goshen County Fair Manager, and Randy Steben and Kim DesEnfants of the Goshen County Fair Board presented their cases, while Megan Brittingham, Extension 4-H/Youth Development Educator, explained the situation in her office.
The resignation of the former employee created the opportunity to resolve an on-going problem.
Currently, the two offices share the time of one employee. Extension has 60 percent of the employee’s time, while the fair office is entitled to 40 percent. Confusion arises when time needs overlap. Having to work in two locations adds to the problem.
Following lengthy discussion, without resolution, the commissioners left the problem with Lofink and Brittingham, and asked that they try to resolve the problem by the next commission meeting, Nov. 21.
Lofink would like to have a contract position that would not have to be located in the fair office. This Fair Coordinator would schedule fairgrounds facilities such as the Pavilion and Ag Hall. There is also the question of salary and benefits, which are paid by
the county.
Brittingham’s need is for someone to handle secretarial duties in the Extension office and coordinate the Goshen County Fair Youth Division under the supervision of the Goshen County Fair Youth Show Committee, a sub-committee of the Goshen County Fair Board. This person would work in the office. It is an hourly position
with benefits.
Although the position is shared by the fair and Extension, Brittingham has the final say on who is hired. The amount of input by the fair manager/board is not formally established.
“There is a problem here,” Commissioner John Ellis said. “You have to get to the problem. If it can be worked out, it has to be a mutual effort.”
The commissioners advised the two entities to continue working together to determine a satisfactory solution, and to report back at the Nov.
 21 meeting.
Other items on the Commission agenda included a report from Kathi Rickard, clerk of the district court. She reported income for October of $3,830.34.
Rickard also advised the commissioners that she needs a public access computer in her office to meet government regulations. She reported that the county’s computer technician has advised using a Chrome Book computer that is small and inexpensive. It could be kept under the counter if necessary, but would be available for public use. She did not have a cost estimate.
Rickard also reported two trials are scheduled for this month.
Also on the day’s agenda was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Peak Wellness of Torrington, which provides mental health services.
Supervisor/therapist Melanie Wolfe and therapist Daniel Tayne presented the document for signature. It provides for Gatekeeping services for Goshen and Platte counties.
The MOU transfers the First Contact position to Peak Wellness, rather than the commission.
According to Commission Chairman Carl Rupp, in the old contract, if a person requiring emergency detention for possible mental illness was contacted by county law enforcement, the commissioners were contacted before the individual could be hospitalized. The commissioners had to contact Peak Wellness for a determination. The change transfers the “gate keeper” duties to Peak Wellness.
“These situations usually require transfer to the hospital in Scottsbluff,” Rupp explained. “That was very expensive for the county, and being partners with Peak Wellness, some of the evaluation and its expense can be done locally. This change speeds the process and makes it better for the patient, too.”
Also on the agenda were Emergency Management Director Shelly Kirchhefer and Fire Warden Bill Law who presented updates. Kirchhefer is wrapping up some grant funding paperwork, and filing new grants. Law covered future convention options and reported the summer fire ban was successful and has been lifted.
Concluding the meeting, the commissioners went into an executive session regarding personnel, with no action being taken.

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