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Floyd County OKs engineer contract, hires EMA/Safety director, receives glowing jail report

By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

Floyd County supervisors approved an employment contract with their relatively new county engineer at the board’s meeting last week, granting him fewer vacation days than he requested but more than would typically be allowed in the county employee handbook.

County engineers are required by Iowa law to have an employment contract with their counties, and Jacob Page, who had completed his first six months of work for Floyd County the end of August, had submitted a proposed contract to the Board of Supervisors at the board’s Sept. 12 meeting.

The three-year contract included the 5% pay increase that other county employees had received at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1, with future pay increases to be decided annually after a performance review. The contract also included 160 hours – four weeks – of vacation.

Page told the board that his research was that four weeks of vacation was a pretty standard amount for other county engineers in the state, and Supervisor Chair Doug Kamm said the reality is that Page is in a highly competitive position.

But Supervisor Linda Tjaden balked at awarding the full 160 hours, saying she would like to see some sort of compromise between the one week Page would be currently eligible for under the county’s employee handbook and the four weeks requested.

The county board took no action on the contract at that Sept. 12 meeting, both because of the vacation question and because Page had not yet had his six-month performance evaluation.

At a regular meeting held Friday afternoon, Sept. 23, Tjaden said she had talked with Mike Galloway, the county’s human resources attorney, who told her that engineering staff are difficult positions to fill, but that vacation time is a negotiated amount and it was up to the board to decide how much to award.

Since the Sept. 12 meeting Page has had his six-month review with Supervisor Kamm, and Tjaden said, “You’re right on track. You’ve really stepped into this position,” but she added, “As I said last time, I’m stumbling on 160 hours” of vacation.

She offered a couple of options for a new contract, including a one-year contract with 13 days of vacation and a renegotiation after the year, or a two year contract with 15 days vacation per year.

Kamm said he wouldn’t want to do a one-year contract, and he encouraged his fellow supervisors to “think about the ways of the world.”

“Jacob is in a pretty enviable position,” Kamm said. “There’s not an engineer out there that doesn’t have other offers.”

Page suggested that the 160 hours vacation could be accrued through the year instead of being awarded immediately at the beginning of each year as the contract he suggested had proposed, if supervisors were worried about him getting the vacation up front then leaving during the year.

Tjaden said, “It’s just because you’re new, you’re still learning. We definitely want to keep you, it’s just that amount of vacation.”

Supervisor Roy Schwickerath said he saw the 15 days of vacation as a good compromise.

Tjaden moved to offer Page a two-year contract with 15 days of vacation each year, the 5% pay increase that other county employees received retroactive to Sept. 1., July 1. Schwickerath seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

Also at the meeting Friday, the supervisors:

  • Approved hiring Jason Webster of Charles City as the new Floyd County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director and county safety coordinator, to begin Oct. 10. The job is 90% with the EMA, and Webster was approved by the Emergency Management Commission. But 10% of his job is county safety coordinator, and so the Board of Supervisors had to also give its approval.

Webster was hired for a starting annual salary of $52,000, with a 5% increase after a successful six-month review and an additional $1,000 increase after he completes the Emergency Management Certification program.

  • Acknowledged receipt of a letter from Iowa Chief Jail Inspector Delbert Longley, regarding his recent inspection of the new county jail located in the Floyd County Law Enforcement Center. “The inspection included an examination of staff training records, required documentation, prisoner files, jail policy and procedures and a tour of the jail,” he wrote.

“Floyd County Jail is a new, extremely clean, well-managed, and well-maintained facility,” Longley wrote. “Documentation was complete and readily available for inspection. It was a pleasure to work with the professional staff at the Floyd County Jail.”

  • Accepted the resignation of Angelica Breyer on the Floyd County Veterans Affairs Commission because she is moving out of the county, and appointed Maureen Ruane to replace her until the end of her term, Dec. 31, 2024.
  • Approved sponsoring a grant application for $7,500 from the Floyd County Community Foundation for the new K9 program with the Sheriff’s Office.

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