Porter County to do human resources audit
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent May 21, 2013 3:51PM
Updated: June 23, 2013 6:28AM
VALPARAISO — The Porter County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to hire Organizational Development Solutions Inc. of Westville to do a human resources audit for $24,450.
Commissioners President John Evans, R-North, said county officials have discussed for some time the need for a human resources person for its 600-some employees, though there is no money in the county council’s budget for the position.
“We understand that,” Evans said, “but these duties fall on the commissioners and the county attorney.”
The county has hired six people recently and each has needed job orientation, and information on insurance options and safety in the departments they’re working in.
“These are things that can easily be handled by a human resources department,” Evans said, later adding that Porter County is the largest county in the state without a human resources department.
Once the commissioners get the audit report — it’s scheduled to begin in early June or July — they will propose putting Desila Rosetti, president of the firm, or another person in place on contract for a minimum of one to two days a week.
The audit will include information on whether employee time cards are consistent from department to department, for example, Evans said, adding the county is in the process of revising its employee manual.
“I think it’s something we need to do to protect us and the employees,” said Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South.
In other business, the commissioners voted to spend up to $1 million in hospital interest proceeds to upgrade the hardware and software in the county’s public safety radio system. The council will determine the final amount.
John Jokantas, director of central communications for 911 dispatch, said he hopes the final figure is less than $800,000, and he will have firm numbers in the next few weeks.
The sheriff’s department is one step closer to hiring a firm to handle medical services at the jail. Sheriff David Lain said he and a committee of county representatives selected Correct Care Solutions out of Nashville, Tenn., to provide the service.
He has estimated the annual cost of providing medical care at the jail, including overnight staffing, which the jail now lacks, at $900,000 to $1.2 million annually.
That amount, he said Tuesday, has been reduced significantly, and can be reduced even more through the negotiation process. He hopes to have a one-year contract for the commissioners in the coming weeks, with a projected startup date of July 1.
The health department offices in the North County Government Complex in Portage will move out of that building and into a former doctor’s office behind Portage Hospital as of June 1, through an agreement with Porter Regional Hospital, which owns the building.
The move, which will cost the county $1,521.58 a month under the terms of a three-year lease, will free up space in the Portage government building, Evans said.
“This is something the health department has been asking about for years,” he said.