• Charlene Sims, Journal staff

County department heads discuss policy on committees

MOUND CITY – A proposal last month by Linn County Commissioner Rick James to limit the number of terms a resident could serve on a volunteer committee and make changes to committee bylaws has prompted county department heads to review and discuss the proposal.

Linn County Public Works Director Shaun West updated the commissioners on Monday, Sept.12, about those discussions. West said that the next step for the group was to try to make one recommendation for all the committees.

County Counselor Gary Thompson said that because the department heads are the ones working with the committees, he had asked for them to develop a standard approach for terms.

Commission Chair Jim Johnson asked what the committee members obligation or authority is on the boards. He said some people questioned that.

Thompson said that he was going to get it together what each board does. He told the commissioners that they really needed to think this through and not just throw something out there.

Commissioner Rick James said that since the county is taking its time on this to do it right, what needs to be done is to look at whether those committees have the right number of people. He also asked if the committees were set up correctly and if there is representation on those boards.

The county needs to get this down and get it straight so everybody knows that they serve this many years and they come off. And maybe if you determine that they can come back after so many years, they can come back later on in life, maybe three or four years or one or two terms later or whatever, said James.

Then the county needs to publish that on the website so people can see who is on the committee and when their term ends, said James. It allows new people in the county to have the opportunity to serve and that’s important.

Earlier in the meeting, James had pressed Fire Chief Randy Hegwald about the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) committee which has members from each city, school district and other organizations.

James asked where Hegwald was at in getting the committee together.

The LEPC meeting is set for the October quarterly meeting, said Hegwald.

James asked Hegwald if all of the seats on that committee had representatives. Hegwald said that they sent 16 emails to people on the existing roster last week saying the scheduled meeting will be in October.

Hegwald said he had heard back from some, but some were no longer in those positions. He added was trying to get other people who are now in that position.

James told Hegwald that if he did not have committee members and they are supposed to be on the committee, the commissioners should be voting them in.

Thompson said for the LEPC board it was specific people like a city clerk who was required by state statute to be on the committee. They are automatically on there due to their positions.

Hegwald told James not to confuse the LEPC with the fire board. On the LEPC, the county is required by state statute to have certain people on there.

James said he still wanted them identified. “We’ve dropped the ball on that thing completely,” he said.

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