The discussion about the 33¢ cost of living increase began with a motion to not give the increase to those who were to receive raises this December, made by David Hammer and seconded by Ted Wiegel at the Lafayette County Board meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Board Supervisor Larry Ludlum stated that everybody employed by the county receives this cost of living increase. The timing of the raises given became the issue.
“If we would have approved the 33¢ and then in June or July some of the departments asked for wage increases…they would have been given it.”
Dwayne Larson understood that the hospital has to be competitive in their wages, hence some of the increases, but still couldn’t agree with giving the extra increase.
“We have a waiting list at the manor. The way to fill the beds is to get the staff on there and keep the staff,” Ludlum declared.
Supervisor Bob Boyle asked how much the 33¢ would save the county if they were to not give it to those getting the raise. Chairman Jack Sauer stated it would be about $685 per employee, affecting 58 employees, for an estimated total of $39,730.
Hammer felt the pay raises were very lucrative and didn’t need the 33¢.
Roll call was taken and the motion to not give the increase failed with Boyle, Hammer, Sauer, Larson, Ted Wiegel and Carol Korn voting yes, making the count 6-8, with Steve Spensley and Tony Ruesga not present. Therefore the cost of living wage will be added onto those 58 employees receiving a wage increase.
Christina Bell gave a presentation to the board about her assessment of Lafayette County for a possible free medical clinic. Bell, a Darlington native, is clinical faculty at Edgewood College and has volunteered at the Community Connections Free Clinic in Dodgeville for 5 years.
Bell studied the 2016 Health Care Assessment of Lafayette County and also took a survey of 176 people throughout the county. Lafayette County ranks 68 out of 72 counties in clinical care.
Bell addressed the board saying the community should have a conversation about investigating into the possibility of having a free clinic.
“You need people who are willing to step up and have a board of directors.”
Board members asked how the Free Clinic in Dodgeville was funded. Thirty percent of the funding is from the community through fundraising, 30% is from grants and the other 30% comes from the hospital, Upland Hills Health. The clinic was established by Dr. Aaron Dunn, family practice doctor in Dodgeville, who commented he wanted to volunteer at their free clinic, which at the time the county did not have. Bell believes an announcement was put in the paper and community members came together, formed a board and 10 years later it is still running strong.
Supervisor Kriss Marion asked about the funding provided by the hospital and if it was given in kind. Bell stated the hospital helps with radiology, x-rays, labs, ultrasounds and gives supplies in kind.
“It’s not any sort of competition for the hospital?” Marion asked.
“In Lafayette you have one provider for over 4,000 patients. I don’t think we would be taking money out of the doctors pockets because there are too many people to care for right now and we don’t have enough providers,” informed Bell.
Hospital Administrator Julie Chikowski commented that she supports a free clinic but the hospital is currently in the process of buying a clinic and trying to gain rural health clinic status.
“We need to insure that if we support a free clinic in Lafayette County that it is not going to negate our ability to get that rural health clinic status. If that’s not an issue, then absolutely,” Chikowski said.
Bell stated that some physicians volunteer and give a day a month to work at the clinic but some free clinics could be run by nurses.
Sauer commented that Chikowski could do some research to make sure a free clinic would not hurt the hospital’s chance of receiving rural health care status and what else needs to be done to move forward.
When discussing increasing compensation for Licensed Nursing staff, Hammer asked if the amounts would be enough.
“Is this going to be adequate to get these people?” Hammer asked.
Chikowski commented, give me more money. Cut back on spending, Hammer replied.
“I challenge you to find additional dollars. We don’t have a lot of fat to cut,” Chikowski stated.
Hammer answered that he was not talking about ‘cutting fat’. He asked about giving a time limit to get the employees and if not, should Chikowski come back and then add more.
“We need additional nurses at the manor. We are spending $15,000 to $18,000 on overtime a month,” Chikowski said.
Ludlum added that if the board wanted to put more money in the resolution, as Manor Committee Chairman, “I totally support it.”
Hammer asked if the budget could handle adding $1 to the RN. Chikowski said that if they add more nurses, it could make all the total expenses about $150,000 but that would also bring in new residences and would give the county $200,000 in revenue and helping provide for Lafayette County residents.
Sauer suggested the board go with the proposed increase and look at it again in three months.
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors also approved:
-Resolution 69-16, allowing Human Services to rehire for vacant position without the approval of Human Resources but still come to HR when it is for a new position.
-Resolutions 70-16, 71-16, 72-16 and 73-16, wage increases for Purchasing Supervisor, Environmental Supervisor, Health Information Maintenance Supervisor and Finance Manager at MHLC.
-Resolution 74-16, increasing the Human Resources Coordinator position from .6 to full time status.
-Resolution 75-16, increasing wages for two Manor Dietary and one Manor Dietary/Activities positions.
-Resolution 76-16, acquiring employees of FHLC to MHLC employees.
-Resolution 77-16, wage increase for MHLC Technical Professional.
-Resolution 78-16, creation of an employee physician and salary range.
-Resolutions 79-16 and 80-16, wage increases for two Clinical Application Specialists and Chief Nursing Officer.
-Resolution 82-16, reducing Julie Chikowski’s oversight, compensation and responsibilities at the Lafayette Manor from 30% to 10%.
-Resolutions 83-16 and 84-16, creating a Nursing Home Administrator/Director of Activities and Salaried Assistant Administrator/Director of Social Services for the Lafayette Manor.
-Resoultions 85-16 and 86-16, increasing salary for Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer at MHLC.
-Resolution 87-16, the Veterans’ Service Officer compensation wage range.
-Resolution 88-16, making Clare Bank is the official county depository for 2017.