County Board recognizes Sheriff's Department retirees
The Henry County Board recognized 6 retirees from the Sheriff's Office, having left the office in recent months. The Honorees were:
Julie Hill, Correctional Officer, 2/1/00 to 4/18/20
Jon Hornback, Patrol Deputy, 6/7/93 to 7/18/20
Robert Peters, Correctional Officer, 10/2/00 to 11/24/20
Greg Strandberg, Patrol Sergeant, 1/5/98 to 1/31/20
Glenn Hampton, Patrol Sergeant, 6/2/97 to 6/2/21
Joe Femali, Patrol Deputy, 8/17/93 to 11/30/20
Sheriff Kerry Loncka congratulated the retirees, and stated that he was sorry to see them leave the department, that between them they had 213 years of service. Board member and former Sheriff, Jim Padilla also took a moment to note there was "A ton of training and expertise with these officers. I have served with most of them, and Henry County is fortunate to have such talented law enforcement personnel."
County Administrator Erin Knackstedt, Information Services Director, Rosemary Rathjen, and Sheriff Loncka with a representative from Klingler and Associates, brought up the need to replace a Programmable Logistic Controller, which controls the lights, doors, cameras, heating and cooling and the associated systems that go with them throughout the Courthouse and the Jail. The old one failed completely, a used one was acquired and put into service. The makeshift repair does not communicate with other systems in the courthouse. The county would like to put the PLC out for bids, and have them back in time for the August meeting. Klingler & Associates estimates that the PLC will require $1 M to $1.5 M to replace. A minimum of 3 bids should be returned.
The Board also approved the appointment of three members to the Ad Hoc Reapportionment Committee. Jan May will be appointed as a voting member, JoAnn Hillman as the Democrat representative an a non-voting member, Jon Zahm as the Committee historian.
Rex Kiser was appointed to the fill the unexpired term of retiring County Treasurer, Tim Wells. Wells will retire July 1, and Kiser will serve out the term until November of 2022.
Staffing was a familiar complain across the Committees. Kathy Nelson reported that Hillcrest Home only had 72 residents, and they had closed one wing containing 25 beds. They could accept more residents, but currently do not have enough staff to adequately care for more.
Mark Burton, reporting on behalf of the Public Safety Committee, stated that Sheriff Loncka had voiced a similar concern at committee, that it is hard to hire new officers, and they currently have open positions.
States Attorney Cathy Runty will be bringing in a recent law school graduate to assist as an intern until she gets her results on passing the Bar exam in October. Once hired on, she will work under a supervisor in the Public Defender's office.
The Transportation Department is also looking for someone for an entry level position.