New Board meets, accepts Treasurer's resignation, outlines vaccine distribution

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic

The Henry County Board met Thursday December 17 via teleconference.  This is the fist meeting of the entire Board that was seated at the beginning of December.  New Board Chairman, Kippy Breeden presided.  

The Board accepted the resignation of Public Defender James Cosby, who is being appointed as the Associate Judge for the 14th Circuit. He will be replaced by Lance Camp as the new Public Defender. 

The Board also accepted the resignation of Treasurer Tim Wells,  In a letter to the Board, Wells requested that his resignation be effective July of 2021.  He cited differences of opinion with employees and other office holders as reasons for the decision, in that document.

Matt Schnepple described the outlined plan when Henry County is finally provided their allotment of the Covid 19 vaccine.   It is likely to be the Moderna vaccine.  The first recipients will be hospital workers and inpatient hospital workers at the County's two Hospitals, St. Lukes and Hammond-Henry.  It will be evenly distributed between them.  EMS workers will be the next group to receive the vaccine, with other healthcare workers, like therapists and dialysis professionals. Long term care and nursing facilities have been advised to join the Federal vaccine program, which has contracted with CVS and Walgreens for distribution.  Those pharmacies will go into the care facilities to do the residents and staff. The distribution under the Federal program is expected sometime after Christmas, and before the end of January. The next wave of recipients will be the first responders, police and fire fighters.  Then the Courthouse and Highway employees, with education employees in that group.  

Jan May summarized the situation at Hillcrest Home, which recently had a Covid 19 outbreak affecting the residents and staff. Employees have worked 12 hour shifts, taking on extra shifts, and going without days off. In this time frame, 1 LPN, 2 nurses and 2 CNAs have quit.  They feel they have recently turned the corner on the situation.

Hillcrest received $682,000 from the CARES act, that was under the stipulation that it be used before the end of the year, otherwise the remaining funds will be forfeited.  The largest part of that amount has been spent in replacing cloth furniture and equipment, as well as testing . Currently 70 residents are at Hillcrest, and they have begun to bring in new people off the waiting list. Staffing remains a problem, and when contracts are up, a higher starting wage will need to be addressed.  More than $387,000 was paid to staffing agencies in the last year. There remains $60,000 of the CARES funds that she wanted to distribute among the full and part time employees as Covid Hazard pay. 

The Board authorized the purchase of a 2021 John Deere wheeled excavator in the amount of $203,756.  The vehicle it is replacing, purchased in 2001, will be traded in. 

Tasers for the Sheriff's Department were authorized for purchase in the amount of $32,287. These are a close out model that match the specifications of the existing ones that the Department has. 

Henry County Courthouse