The Porter County
Commission-ers are adopting a new tone in how they do business at their
After election as
commissioner president by his peers Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, and Jim
Biggs, R-North Tuesday, Jeff Good, R-Center, said there is going to be more
“deep dive” discussions at meetings and research to see how other counties
in the state do their business.
Good said the
commissioners started this effort in early 2016. The board is updating
current policies and getting rid of those that are no longer relevant.
Policies will be
better enforced from now on, he said. “It’s going to be the way this board
conducts its business. This is about creating efficiency in county
government,” Good told the officials in attendance.
Two large TV
screens in the County Commissioners’ room will show a PowerPoint
presentation of the meeting agenda as it progresses. Good also asked
contractors throughout the meeting to introduce themselves and for County
Attorney Scott McClure to explain contracts.
Blaney and Biggs
made opening remarks as they start new four-year terms. Biggs, a former
County Commissioner who has replaced longtime Commissioner John Evans on the
board, said he is “really looking forward to 2017” and that the job of
commissioner moves a lot faster than when he was in the seat more than 16
years ago, due in large part to technology.
Blaney, who enters
her second term, said she is excited to work with her fellow commissioners
and “to get the ball rolling moving in the right direction.”
Blaney will serve
as the board’s vice-president for 2017 and Biggs will be the board’s
appointments, Biggs will serve on the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning
Commission, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, Community
Corrections Board, Juvenile Justice Board and the 911 Advisory Board. Good
will serve on the Stormwater Management Advisory Board and the Emergency
Management Advisory Board. Blaney will serve on the Advisory Plan Commission
and the Child Protection Team.
Also named were the
Commissioners citizen picks for local boards.
Jason Gilliana, who
owns Gilliana Pools in Valparaiso, was reappointed as the Commissioners’
representative on the Porter County Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The board approved
the reappointment of Lisa Wodrich to the County Tourism Commission nominated
by the towns of Chesterton, Porter and Burns Harbor. The Commissioners’
three appointments to the PCCRVC are Jesse Harper of JBH Productions, Cathi
Brown of Valpo Velvet Ice Cream and Portage attorney Patrick McEuen.
Reappointed on the
Board of Health are physician John Forchetti and nurse Kathryn Lemmon.
Council member Bob Poparad is reappointed to the Plan Commission.
Mike Novotney will represent the Commissioners on the Kankakee River Basin
John Patterson will
serve on the Stormwater Management Advisory Board.
McKay to lead Co.
In other matters,
the Commissioners announced that Andy McKay will be the permanent
superintendent for the County Highway Department.
McKay took over as
interim superintendent after David James retired in October.
Good said the
County did a candidate search with interviews but found McKay was the best
will next be looking for an assistant superintendent for the department and
someone to manage the County garage in the north district.
McKay’s appointment, Good said the County Engineering Department, which has
been housed in the County garage on Ind. 2 with the Highway Department, will
be moved to the second floor of the County Administration Building in
downtown Valparaiso. It will be connected to the Department of Development
and Stormwater Management.
Good said this will
provide customer service in that applicants for building permits will no
longer have to drive to the highway garage to get what they need.
“It’s all going to
be handled in one place,” Good said, emphasizing this is being done for
government to be efficient.
voted 3-0 to hire employee benefits consultant R.E. Sutton and Associates of
Brownsburg, Ind. to study the County’s employee health plan. The consulting
agreement is for $8,000.
Good said the
Commissioners want to learn how the insurance plan is working so they can
have a clearer picture when it comes time to renew the plan in April.
also will be looking at ways to revamp its insurance for automobiles and
made by the Commissioners:
-- General service
agreements with American StructurePoint and grant writer Katie Sanders.
Department contracts with Mitsubishi UPS Systems Group maintenance agreement
and the Indiana State Department of Toxicology Evidentiary Breath Test
Instrument maintenance agreement.
A sixth payment for
the jail security project of $82,090 was approved.
-- The Porter
County Recycling and Waste Reduction District’s fee collection agreement.
-- A second reading
of an ordinance to create a non-reverting fund for the receipt of court
ordered detention service fees for the Juvenile Services Center.
-- The Porter
County Right to Life organization got permission from the Commissioners to
use the north side of the Courthouse grounds for its prayer vigil at noon on
Saturday, Jan. 21.