Commissioners to consider buying new defibrillators

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners will consider purchasing nine defibrillators to replace existing defibrillators at its meeting today.

A New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) Foundation grant would pay for half of the $12,951.90 (state contract) cost or up to $6,400 for nine Philips FRx defibrillators. The Brown County Sheriff’s Office would pay the other half of the cost, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

The defibrillators would replace Medtronic Lifespan 500 models made in 2000. Eight of the new defibrillators would be placed in deputy squad (cars). The other would go to the Brown County Jail, according to the RBA.

Commissioners will also consider:

Accepting a 2014 Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety Crime Victim Services Grant Agreement, effective from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014 to support the general crime victim program at the Brown County Probation Dept. The $35,000 grant pays the 27 hours a week wages for Crime Victim Advocate Bernie Epper, according to the RBA.

Authorizing a letter of support for funding the local Underage Substance Abuse Coalition (USAC) to be sent to Congressman Tim Walz. The letter expressed concern about the de-funding several five-year Drug Free Community (DFC) grantees, including Brown County, according to the RBA.

“Though we have made successful strides at reducing alcohol consumption, we are now faced with the increasing issue of legalizing marijuana, and the increasing use of prescription medication and tobacco,” the letter read.

Call-back items in the draft 2014 county budget. Probation items include $18,000 for Juvenile Drug Court Mentoring and $16,775 for supervision small equipment; Highway Dept. snow-plow truck and equipment replacement; adjusting probation agent salaries subject to final state adoption scale; Family Services Director Tom Henderson’s suggested revisions to the Fund 11 budget; adjusting health insurance benefit costs in all departments pending acceptance of 2014 health insurance bid; and variable contingency line items.

Premium rates for the 2014 HealthPartners-Minnesota Public Partners Alliance (MPPA) Health Insurance Plans; offering an optional 4th Health Partners Health Insurance Plan, approving Dwight Melzer, Melzer Insurance Services as agent of record. The renewal reflects a 2.5 percent decrease in HP 2500/5000 w/HSA base plan from 2013 rates, largely due to the savings by being self-insured through HealthPartners’ MPPA group.

Personnel Policy Committee change recommendations to Brown County’s Personnel Policy manual, effective Jan. 1, 2014 including adopting a Medical Emergency Leave Bank Policy to continue the practice of allowing county employees to help one another in times of extraordinary need, and comply with IRS guidelines concerning sick leave programs.

Other recommended changes include:

Increasing vacation accrual rates closer to average, considering the counties of Cottonwood, Jackson, Nobles, Watonwan, Kandiyohi, LeSueur, Faribault, Murray, Redwood, McLeod, Nicollet, and Lyon. Current Brown County vacation accrual rates are below the other 12 counties, according to the RBA.

Changing the group health insurance percentage split between Brown County and its employees from 50/50 to 75/25, making the employer’s share 75 percent as of Jan. 1, 2015.

Clarifying what becomes of accrued vacation, sick and comp time when Brown County employment ends. Accrued vacation balance would be paid out as severance pay, according to the RBA.

For employees in a county-recognized Health Care Savings Plan, accrued vacation, unused comp bank hours, and unused sick leave due as severance pay, upon employment termination, shall be deposited into the employee’s Post Employment/Retirement Health Care Savings Plan. Terminating employees must consult Human Resources about PERA refunds and continuation or termination of group life and medical insurance policies, according to the RBA.

Regular and training phase full-time employees accrue sick leave at eight hours for each month of service. Any abuse of sick leave shall be strictly forbidden. Department heads and/or Human Resources Directors reserve the right to deal with offenders as they see fit, according to the RBA.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the courthouse commissioner’s room.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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