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Human Services discuss OWI Treatment Court
human services

The Lafayette County Human Services (LCHS) Committee meeting was called to order by chair Leon Wolfe Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 2:45 p.m. The meeting was held in the conference room at LCHS and via teleconferencing. Some members were present and some were connected via telephone.

The subject of OWI Court was addressed by Shane Schuhmacher, Human Services Department Head.

For background information: A newly created OWI Treatment court in Lafayette County was given a grant from the state in the amount of $118,000. The grant is to be used to hire two positions – an Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse (AODA) clinical position and a part-time administrative position with their office to be housed at the Human Services building.

Schuhmacher said, “We believe that the OWI Court would be further along if Human Services would have been included more wholly in this process. I regret we were not brought in to the conversation from the beginning. To understand and evaluate the impact it would have on Human Services. I think they developed this a little hastily. We were just asked to provide a letter of support at the last minute and we did that. We do support the OWI treatment court. It’s an important initiative.”

Schuhmacher continued, “We were told that we would only need to commit a couple hours of supervision (per month). After meeting with state representatives we realized that was not the case. None of the candidates have AODA Counselor credentials, so our department would need to provide many more hours of training and supervision.”

According to Schuhmacher the OWI Treatment Court program would bring up a whole load of requirements, demanding any new staff would need specific clinical training and supervision.

Schuhmacher said, “We do have office space available, I don’t want people to misunderstand that. I’m not entirely clear on how many staff positions this program would need. I’m concerned that our current programs and services would be negatively impacted by the OWI Court program.”

Schuhmacher: “My suggestion when I talked to the judge is that we contract this out.”

Wolfe said, “In a previous article in the Republican Journal is was stated that LCHS did not have space to house the program and as Shane just told you that is not the case.”

Committee Member Connie Hull said, “I thought this was being taken care of through the court. I thought that the judge was doing this and Kris Flemming was heading it up. The grant money is there and they just needed a place to house the person and we would have very limited involvement with this.”

Schuhmacher explained, “We’re a certified outpatient clinic and this individual would need to be part of a certified clinic, if they were to be housed here.”

Committee member Sherry Crist said, “The OWI Courts that I have seen work, have worked best when that position was with Human Services.”

Wolfe said, “That’s what historically most of the counties in the state of Wisconsin do. The judge is on a little bit different path in Lafayette County.”

Crist said, “I thought the judge was fine with the position being at LCHS. It will be paid with grant money and be housed at Human Services and it was our position. I thought the DA agreed with that also. I don’t like the idea of contracting, I don’t think you have the initial investment.”

The grant is a five-year grant and is positively framed that this grant will keep going after that.

Hull said, “I don’t want to contract the position out either, but it will take several month to get somebody’s hours in to be able to have them qualify to do this position. I feel this has been kicked on to us at Human Services and it needs to be taken care of by the judge and Kris Flemming. They applied for the grant and they got it. Wonderful. Go do it. But let them do it.”

Schuhmacher was concerned with who is managing or supervising that position.

Schuhmacher said, “If you want this to be supervised by LCHS, then I will take control of this.”

Hull said, “We’re just opening a can of worms that we just closed a month or two ago. The judge and Kris wanted this, they applied for the grant, they got the grant. We’re all onboard with this. It’s their employee. Kris can manage them and we can rent office space to them. We can all work together as we should. But we have to keep these lines clear, because they didn’t want us involved and let’s not open that back up again.”

Crist said, “I’m confused, I thought Shane was going to be supervising the position and the judge was fine with that. I talked with the judge myself and he indicated it should go to Human Services. We have needed a second AODA position for years, this is the perfect opportunity.”

Schuhmacher said, “If this committee is fine with us taking a hold of this situation, we will absolutely do that. I don’t like all this mucking around stuff. If this is going to be our person, then we will take hold of it and take care of it. Whether it be a lease, a contract, a hiring, whatever. So we can support the OWI treatment court.”

Scott Pedley commented, “I think Human Services is the logical place for the person filling this role to be housed and supervised. It’s my recollection that this position would come to Human Services as a result of the grant funding.”

After more discussion, points and screeching feedback a motion was made by Pedley to authorize Mr. Schuhmacher to pursue negotiations with the judge and to have the position housed at Human Services and supervised by Human Services. Crist made the second. Motion approved unanimously.

More discussion regarding details, calibrating, who’s hiring, has someone been hired and other items regarding the OWI Treatment Court were touched on.

Schuhmacher reiterated that LCHS is reaching their energy and capacity limit.

In other business:

•Fiscal Report – Finance Manager Margaret Sutter gave her report dated Dec. 31, 2019. Overall total Human Services is under budget by $50,362 on expenses and over budget by $242,689 on revenue. Levy usage for 2019 is at $1,436,679, this is under what was budgeted by $293,050 for LCHS.

In 2019 Commission on Aging was over the budgeted levy by $14,084.

The report was approved.

•The committee approved Sherry Crist and Richard Roelli to serve as lay members for the LCHS Board. This will go to County Board for final approval.

•Comp/Overtime report for Jan. 27 through Feb. 23  – Comp time 107.41 hours, overtime 84.75 hours. For Feb. 24 through March 22 – Comp time 75.56 hours, overtime 31.00 hours. Schuhmacher noted the overtime and comp numbers are going down because training for new employees has subsided.

•Schuhmacher introduced Monica Miling, the Clinical Coordinator for Community Support Program (CSP). Miling detailed the methods of social distancing she and others in her department have been employing when having contact with patients.

•Schuhmacher explained the precautions the department is taking when dealing with Covid-19.

•Updated the committee on the new hires that have taken place in Human Services.

• Schuhmacher thanked committee members for their service and specifically thanked Leon as this will be Leon’s last meeting.