County commissioner debates online training

FAIRMONT – Martin County Commissioners debated the merit of online training for emergency situations for county employees and elected officials on Tuesday.

Capt. Corey Klanderud of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office approached the board with proposed National Incident Management Systems training, as part of Homeland Security. The guidelines would be meant to ensure that required county personnel receive appropriate training for emergency situations in Martin County.

“With this, people would have a better understanding about what their role is in any situation,” said Martin County Coordinator Scott Higgins.

But Martin County Commissioner Steve Pierce saw the proposed guidelines and training to be redundant.

“What about that big old manuel we just approved?” he said. “This is just repeating all the stuff that was supposed to be our go-to. It’s busy work. Why can’t we just do our jobs instead of all this crap?”

Commissioner chairman Elliot Belgard was familiar with the training due to being a volunteer firefighter and EMT. But he didn’t endorse making it a requirement for county employees.

“It went from a classroom training to online partly because it is so incredibly boring,” he said. “But people did better with it online because they can go at their own pace.”

“It’s simply about designating tasks,” Klanderud told the board. “You can understand what your role can be and understand if we happen to ask for something.”

Pierce again thought any sort of training should be limited to what employees and officials are most likely to encounter.

“Is every employee trained on how to use those defibrillators?” he asked. “CPR, First Aid, get them trained on stuff that’s real.”

Klanderud was also asked by the board if the county would be ineligible for any federal grants if the suggested training was not implemented. Klanderud did not believe that would be the case.

Commissioner Dan Schmidtke moved to turn the proposal over to the personnel department to examine and offer its assessment to the Commissioners at a later meeting. The motion passed 4-1, with Pierce casting the dissenting vote.

In other business, the Martin County Commissioners:

o Approved the final levy for 2014 at $11,805,424, or a 3.15 percent increase as was presented at the Truth-in-Taxation hearing earlier this month.

o Approved promotions and new hires in the Martin County Highway Department. Mike Hannaman was promoted to the shop supervisor position at $23.38 an hour, and Dustin Splinter was promoted to maintenance crew foreman at $22.81 an hour. Shaun Bulfer was hired as a highway technician at $20.29 an hour, and the reclassification of survey crew chief position promoted Brian Winter to $30 an hour. The board also approved advertising to hire a shop mechanic and maintenance worker.