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County Veterans Affairs office could relocate

By Bob Steenson,

The Floyd County Veterans Affairs department may have a new location sometime soon, and likely another new location after that.

As part of the planned updates of the county courthouse included in the new law enforcement center project, Veterans Affairs will be moved out of the ground floor at the courthouse.

It may eventually be relocated to the first floor, if and when County Social Services (CSS) and general assistance moves into the courthouse and is also located on that floor.

For now, the county is considering relocating VA to 1206 S. Main St. in Charles City, where the Floyd County offices of the 22-county CSS group is currently located.

The proposal is as much about a shared mission and clientele as it is about geography.

Maria Deike, executive director of Floyd County Veterans Affairs, told the county supervisors at their regular planning meeting Monday morning that she can use some help.

The Floyd County Commission of Veterans Affairs, which oversees her department, has designed the office to be run by one person, Deike said, but sometimes the flow of traffic and telephone calls are more than one person can handle.

The problem, she said, is things like walk-in people who have questions, or other vets who stop by and just want to chat, can take up time that should be spent on working to provide the services that veterans need.

“The biggest dilemma is we need a front person,” she said, referring to a receptionist or greeter who could handle many of the routine questions or just hand out forms to be returned.

By locating at 1206 S. Main St., which Floyd County owns and where CSS and the county offices of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) are located, she might be able to share the receptionist there, Deike said.

Raina Kellogg, a supervisor for six counties in CSS including Floyd County, said her staff would be willing to help out.

Bob Lincoln, the CSS chief executive officer, whose office is located at the CSS offices in Floyd County, said there is an overlap between the clients that CSS and general assistance sees and the veterans who seek VA services.

“Social services, that’s what we do,” Lincoln said, regarding working with Deike. “Whatever we can do to help folks.”

Deike and Supervisor Linda Tjaden said they would discuss the options with the veterans commission.

Tjaden, who has been working on a plan to temporarily relocate all courthouse offices to speed up the construction work on the courthouse updates, said the VA office could move out of the courthouse before other county offices move — she said as soon as next week — if that helps Deike.

Also at the planning session Monday morning, the supervisors:

• Discussed options for transporting bodies to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny when an autopsy is ordered by authorities. The County Attorney’s Office has drawn up a potential contract with Hauser Weishaar Funeral Home for transporting bodies when that company has personnel and vehicles available. The county will continue pursuing that and other options.

• Received an activity update from county IT Director Bernie Solomon, who said he plans to continue training and testing county employees on computer security issues, and who suggested the county should look into an off-site backup of its servers.

• Received an activity update on emergency management, zoning and safety from Lezlie Weber, who said she continues to work on safety training and safety plans for county offices, and is working with county businesses and schools on safety plans.

Weber also said the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) has 18 members and is “going awesome.”

“They’re so active in the communities and I love it,” she said.