Page County Courthouse

Page County Courthouse

(Clarinda) -- The Page County Board of Supervisors received a proposal from a safety consultant firm about extending its work with the county as the original contract expires this year.

With a cost up to $54,000 over three years, supervisors unanimously agreed March 2018 to use SPR Direct of Davenport to review and improve safety-related procedures. Mark Shaffer of SPR has since been working with Page County. The contract expires Feb. 28.

Shaffer offered to extend his work on a quarterly basis charging from $1,000 to $1,200 over two years. It was the first time county safety coordinator Tom Nordhues was informed of the proposal.

“If you thought that was a value, then it should be based in this budget,” said Supervisor Chuck Morris. Supervisors agreed to give Nordhues time to review the offer.

The proposal was discussed Tuesday, Jan. 12. The safety coordinator position was created in summer 2019 as the county had received warnings of higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums based on multiple, prior claims some which could have been prevented.

“I thought he had an interesting perspective, but he needs your input,” said Morris. “If you thought that was a value based on what he is sending you, it should be in this budget.”

Although the objective for using a safety consultant was for improving the county’s secondary roads department, Shaffer was also available for the jail, conservation, OSHA laws the county follows and other functions.

“As we try to get into an auto role of safety, and that’s the wrong term, and it requires less personal attention, then I think we would expect less time being spent in any one department. It would be more of an overview,” Morris said. “We’ve had a great year with safety. We need to celebrate. We are trending a lot better. The trick is we got to keep it up. We can’t take an eye off safety.”

Nordhues could have more work. Morris suggested including weed commissioner duties into Nordhues’ job description. The position, appointed by the supervisors, monitors weed growth on private and public lands and ways to prevent them from becoming a problem. The position also offers landowners suggestions on how to limit or prevent weed growth.

“You can look through it and think on things,” said Supervisor Alan Armstrong. “We’re hoping that each year as we go there is less that you have to worry about doing daily. It gets to be less involved for you and less training. We are trying to think of things that maybe we can add in that are not too time constraining. Maybe that would be something that would fit.”

The county does not have a dedicated weed commissioner as the position is vacant. Armstrong said the weed commissioner would not be a daily task.

“It’s not an overwhelming issue,” he said.

Nordhues was accepting of the idea.

“In my previous job, I had multiple roles,” he said.

Supervisor Jacob Holmes mentioned the growth of grass on roads.

“We need to stay ahead,” he said.

Armstrong said he has been pleased with the addition of Nordhues and his contributions.

“It’s been a very much enjoyable experience. We are growing and doing better,” Armstrong said. “You’ve been a good leadership model.”

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