The Porter County
Commissioners announced at the end of their meeting Tuesday that they have
selected Pamela J. Courtney as the new human resources director for County
Courtney has worked
since 2005 as the Human Resources Director for the Ottawa County
Commissioners in Ohio and has a Professional in Human Resources designation
through the Society of Human Resources management. She also worked as the
Senior Labor Relations Specialist for about five years at the University of
President John Evans, R-North, proposed the creation of an HR department two
years ago to the County Council, which split 4-3 in favor of creating the
department during last fall’s budget hearings. Proponents argued that such a
department is necessary given the County employs more than 600 workers.
“I think it will be
a great plus to our County and to our County Attorney (Betty Knight) who has
been doing all the work on her own,” Evans said.
have budgeted $127,000 for the department including $72,000 for Courtney’s
Vicki Urbanik told the Commissioners last month she has cleared space in her
office for the HR director to work.
Also on Tuesday,
Evans made a push for the County Council to consider creating a full-time
County Manager position, which “would make everyone’s job easier” on the
Commissioner and Council boards by lightening their workloads and keeping a
healthy line of communication between the two and the public.
Commissioner jobs are considered to be only part-time, Evans said.
In support of his
proposal, Evans said there are municipal governments in the County which
have hired town managers to help carry out administrative duties, like
Chesterton and Valparaiso.
Good, R-Center, voiced his support saying that he’s only been on the job for
three and a half months and found there to be “a lot of moving parts” to
what county government does.
Good wants more
time to weigh health insurance
In the business
portion of their meeting, the Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of
moving forward with a few new measures in the new employee health insurance
plan with INETICO.
the employee benefits specialist with the County’s servicing agent Anton
Insurance, and Troy Scott with R & R Benefits, said that the Commissioners
had to decide whether to penalize employees who don’t pre-certify for health
care services, with a fee or have the claims denied.
Evans opted for the
penalty fee which would be $250 for any non-precertification. He requested
however that outpatient hospice care be removed from the list of services
that would need to be pre-certified.
some reluctance in approving the penalty fees but said “this is part of what
we have to do so employees will have to have some skin in the game.”
are working to stay within the confines of the $9 million the County Council
budgeted this year for health insurance by initiating the new health plan
that utilizes reference-based pricing.
Good requested that
Westergren and Scott get the information to the Commissioners earlier,
having only been handed the information “30 minutes before the meeting.”
“I would like to
see the information come before me in a timely manner so I can ask
questions,” he said, adding that he voted against accepting the INETICO plan
in February because he wanted more details.
Nature trust grants
Commissioners voted 3-0 on a first reading to accept grant money from the
Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust on behalf of the County Parks Department
in a new fund.
Urbanik said the
grant money needs to be held in a new account according to the regulations
of the Indiana Department of Government Finance.
The BNT agreed to
grant $150,000 to the Parks for a 46-acre acquisition at Brincka-Cross
also voted 3-0 to support a resolution by the Valparaiso Lakes Area
Conservancy District to apply for a BNT $50,000 grant which would be used to
purchase and preserve eight acres of wetland on Flint Lake.