Contract for consultants in labor talks on Brown County Board agenda

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners will consider renewing a 2014 consulting services contract today with Madden Galanter Hansen, LLP, Plymouth, for assistance as needed to address union labor contract matters.

The proposed contract shows a basic labor relations services hourly rate of $132, up 3.1 percent from $128 an hour; and from $134 an hour to $138 an hour (3 percent) for representation in arbitration and administrative hearings for calendar year 2014, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

Commissioners will consider:

Selectinging a commissioner to serve on a Complete Streets Leadership Team. Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz said the project works well with strategies identified in the SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Plan) grant.

Commissioners are invited to attend a Complete Streets follow-up meeting, set for 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 12 in the ISD 88 District Administrative Center second floor board room, according to the RBA.

The Heart of New Ulm (HONU) Project contracted with the Walkable and Livable Communities (WALC) Institute to identify areas of New Ulm that could benefit from street scape physical structure changes, according to a Nov. 6, 2013 letter from HONU Community Programs and Public Policy Specialist Cindy Winters.

The WALC Institute will use recent New Ulm tour information to identify community assets and priority areas where safety could be improved with street scape changes over the next few years to enhance benefits, according to the letter. The report will be given Dec. 12 meeting participants.

Moritz’ report added that Brown and Nicollet County partners met Oct. 30 and reviewed community health data and determined and prioritized top community health issues. The next step is to create action plans.

The most serious issues include a doubling of the number of high school freshmen who tried to commit suicide, an increased overall rate of suicide, mental health concerns, adolescent bullying, diabetes and heart disease and obesity rates, low rates of meeting physical activity thresholds, high per-capital fast food restaurants in Brown County, unprotected sexual activity, sexual activity at a younger age, increased radon levels, a high motor vehicle death rate related to alcohol and increased binge drinking rates, according to the RBA.

The Public Health Update included information on E-cigarettes, typically battery-operated devices containing nicotine and other chemicals that produce a vapor that is inhaled by users and others around them.

Because they are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and not labeled, state public health agencies support regulating them much the same as tobacco, according to the RBA.

Counties can add them to existing indoor air policies and ban their use in county buildings. Some Minnesota communities have already banned them. There is state legislative interest to introduce a bill to address E-cigarette use and sale regulations, according to the RBA.

The county health update added that off-site flu clinics for assisted living, group homes and Brown County employees have been completed. Flu shot appointments are available on Tuesday. The vaccine is available at area clinics and pharmacies. Minnesota flu activity usually picks up in late December, January and February. Anyone older than six months is encouraged to get a flu shot.

The county board meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the courthouse second floor commissioners room.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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