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Human Services to add two employees to handle Obamacare
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MONROE - Two new employees will be added to the Green County Human Services Department starting July 1 to handle the increased workload associated with implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

The Green County Board of Supervisors approved the staffing addition at its monthly meeting Tuesday, June 11.

The full-time, project-based positions are planned to last through July 2015 and will not affect the tax levy since they're fully funded via a federal grant. Each pays a minimum hourly rate of $14.88 and a maximum of $19.70.

"We've got a lot of changes coming," Greg Holcomb, head of Human Services, told the board.

He anticipates hiring four to five new staff members in total during the next two years as his department adjusts to Obamacare. The positions will be project-based and temporary.

Federal training is in August for the two employees starting July 1. Beyond that, Holcomb said it's unclear to him at this point what their job duties will involve.

"I don't know what these people are going to do," he said.

He's not alone. Wisconsin's 72 county human services departments are under similar requirements and competing for hires this summer in advance of the August training.

Also briefly discussed at the meeting was the future of the Government Services Building, located at the Pleasant View Complex just north of Monroe.

The Finance Committee is exploring the future of the aging building, some parts of which date to the 1880s.

It needs maintenance, said Board Chair Art Carter.

"If we're going to maintain it, we'd better maintain it," he said.

The county has hired Madison architecture firm Potter Lawson, Inc., along with Henneman Engineering, to analyze the building's current needs and develop a conceptual design and preliminary budget for a new Government Services Building.

The board's next meeting will be at the Government Services Building on July 9, with time allotted beforehand for supervisors to inspect it.

In other business:

• Supervisors approved adding the fulltime position of Human Resource Coordinator to oversee employees at Pleasant View Nursing Home.

Terry Hensel, head of the nursing home, explained the position is needed to oversee workplace safety programs, disciplinary evaluations and other personnel matters for the facility's 180 employees and to handle the 30 to 50 new hires that come in each year.

She attributes the high number of new hires each year to student employees who don't stay long. Turnover is actually low at Pleasant View compared to other nursing homes, she added.

The position will pay a minimum hourly rate of $17.80 and a maximum of $22.29. Salary and benefits total $28,302 for the remainder of 2013. The nursing home has rollover funds to cover this, so the position won't affect the budget until 2014.

• Supervisors approved raising fees on highway access permits, as recommended by the Highway Committee. Previously those applying for an access permit paid a flat fee of $100. The Highway Committee has set a new fee schedule, with most access permits - commercial, field, private, roadway, shared - now costing $150. Supervisor and committee member Ray Francois told the board the raised fees are needed to cover the cost of gasoline and staffing time for highway employees to check on permit-holders.

• Supervisors approved the installation of stop signs on Race Road at County E in Decatur Township and on West 1st Street at County N in Monroe (by the Walmart).

• Supervisors approved a state tourism grant of $34,640 to be used for marketing Green County. An additional $16,000 will be coming from hotel room taxes in Monroe and New Glarus.

• Board chair Art Carter appointed supervisor Betty Grotophorst to the Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council for a three-year term, effectively immediately, and appointed Pamela Elsen as a citizen member to the Green County Health Committee.