Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Supervisors approve SEIL 28E agreement at Monday’s meeting

Board debates control over county mental health employees
By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Apr 25, 2017

After a discussion Monday about a revised 28E agreement between Jefferson County and Southeast Iowa Link Mental Health Disability Services, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved the agreement.

Supervisors Lee Dimmitt and Dee Sandquist voted in favor of the revised agreement, while supervisor Dick Reed voted against it.

“It had some new verbiage in it, and I voted against that language,” Reed said, explaining that he thought that SEIL Mental Health and Disability Services appeared to have more control over county employees than the county did.

“I think Jefferson County [should] be able to tell their employees what to do and what not to do … not the region,” Reed said, adding that Jefferson County employees are paid by the county.

Reed said that Jefferson County’s Central Point of Coordination — Mental Health Office employees were doing work for Van Buren County, which is also a member of SEIL’s eight county region.

“Van Buren County lost their employees several months ago, and [they] have been doing work down there. In my eyes, if I have an employee who’s working in another county, what are they doing in Jefferson County?” Reed said. “I am for the consumer — and that would be individuals with a mental or physical disability, so it’s not that I want to shortcut any of the services in Jefferson County, but why do I have two full-time employees if they have enough time to do this region work.”

“All I’m doing is looking out for the taxpayers of Jefferson County,” Reed said, explaining that although he thinks Jefferson County has benefited being a part of SEIL, he didn’t think it left much time for Jefferson County employees to work on county matters.

“I voted against it because I would probably run it more like a business,” he said. “I don’t think I would let one of my employees go work for another contractor without being reimbursed.”

Jefferson County CPC Sandy Stever said that SEIL did have more control, but due to the 28E agreement that was approved three years ago.

“Our work in the region sometimes involves assisting with people in other counties or matters in other counties, and that’s what happens whenever you are in a 28E,” Stever said.  “The whole region helps each other out, whether you are a supervisor like Dee [Sandquist] who sits on the governance board or a coordinator of disability service like myself, and there are six of us in the region or if it’s somebody like my assistant Leia Craff, and there are four of them … we all have our assignments, and we all help each other out. But I can guarantee you that there will never ever be any slight to my Jefferson County people — ever. There never has been, and never will be.

“Essentially all work activity is region work, whether it’s Jefferson, Lee or Van Buren County or any of the other eight counties in our region. Our citizens here in Jefferson County will always have me; I will always be there for them. That isn’t going to change, no matter what.”

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