Although a new county human resources (HR) director position was approved during a recent Fayette County Commissioners’ meeting, the new position will not be filled immediately due to the county budget needing to be cut by 20 percent.
“We’ve considered adding an HR person for some time,” explained commissioner Dan Dean. “Things such as our wellness program that is ran by the ladies in our office, our workers’ comp stuff that is done by some people in (Fayette County Engineer Steve Luebbe’s) office, and other HR functions done by folks in the auditor’s office — we think it’s best to combine all of it together and have a more effective, better system for the employees and the county.”
Due to current circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and the closure of offices and businesses, HR questions are abundant.
According to Dean, to help address the questions, the commissioners have been taking part in HR webinars that the County Commissioners Association has been hosting, as many other counties are in the same “boat.” There is also an HR helpline through CORSA, the county insurance provider, that is being utilized. Both the prosecuting attorney, Jess Weade, and the assistant prosecuting attorney, Dan Drake, are answering questions that come up as well.
“We think it would be more effective to have an HR person hired however, county revenues are expected to fall off significantly,” said Dean. “Our biggest source of revenue of course is still sales tax. Most of the retail stores in the county are closed, which means they’re not collecting that. So we know our projected revenues for the year are going to fall off, so we have been talking to other elected officials and department heads to keep in line with what Governor (Mike) DeWine’s asking all the state to do, and try to figure out how we can cut our budget by 20 percent for the remainder of the year.”
Although the position is currently not being filled, resumes are being collected and will remain on file so a person can be hired as soon as possible.
“The commissioners’ office, as well as other commissioners throughout the state, are lobbying our federal congressional people — both the senators and representatives, as well as the state, to look for some method to help counties and other local governments with their general funds. The stimulus packages done so far do not address that,” said Dean.
Although they are trying to get assistance for general funds, Dean explained they are trying to be “proactive” so as not to wait until last minute.
“We are looking to cut costs immediately,” he said. “Not only will we lose sales tax revenue, we’re going to lose the casino revenue that we get, because they are all closed. We’re also going to get a lot less this year than we did last year in the interest that we receive from the banks on our county funds that are deposited there, because the interest rates have dropped significantly.”
By being proactive during this time, Dean explained they are trying to keep as many county services as possible while “living” within the available budget.
Also in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commissioners recently met with Washington Court House City Manager Joe Denen, Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon, Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, Chief Deputy Andy Bivens, EMA Director Melissa Havens and Emergency Response Coordinator Megan Batson. The meeting was to discuss how community leaders could get compliance from the public on the importance of the Stay at Home Order.
According to Dean, their public meetings on Mondays have not had many attendees which he said he appreciates due to the pandemic. To help with social distancing, the commissioners are sitting in different corners of the room during their meetings and the office staff, as well as the staff in other county offices, are taking turns working every-other-day so that there are less people working at one time.
In other recent news from the commissioners’ office, Jenny Breedlove was appointed as a trustee of Fayette County Memorial Hospital for a six-year term from March 2 of this year to March 2 of 2026.
A bid for the Bluegrass Boulevard Road Construction Project (phase one) was also accepted at the recommendation of Luebbe. The bid was from Fillmore Construction.
Resumes and cover letters, including references, for the HR position can be sent by email to Dana.Foor@Fayette-co-oh.com or by mail to Fayette County Board of Commissioners, Attention: Dana Foor, 133 S Main St. Suite 401, Washington C.H., Ohio 43160. Resumes are being accepted through April 12.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.