Cape County Commission appoints members of two boards, still accepting applications for spots on others

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Cape Girardeau County Commission on Thursday appointed members to fill all vacancies on the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority Board and the Industrial Development Authority Board, leaving five county volunteer advisory boards short of a full staff.

Ronnie Fischer will be reappointed to a four-year term on the nine-person SEMO Port board. The two-year term that was available will be filled by Dan Driskell, who sent a letter of interest and resume to the county, dated Dec. 21, highlighting his 35 years in the construction business as a potential asset to the board. Both terms begin Jan. 1.

The port board's two-year term alternates between Scott County and Cape Girardeau County. Executive director Dan Overby said when the board was created in 1975, it was a joint effort by the two counties. Four members come from each county, in addition to the two-year member-at-large seat.

The Industrial Development Authority Board filled three of its seven seats with the appointment of Rex Meyr and Adam Kidd and by the reappointment of Dan Driskell. Their six-year terms will begin Jan. 1. Cliff Rudesill and Jerry Lorberg are resigning from the board.

According to application information, Meyr has been owner and president of Shawneetown Feed and Seed for 26 years and a vocational agriculture teacher for four years. Kidd has been executive vice president of Kidd Land Management since 2001 and has worked in the real estate business since 1988.

Applications are still being accepted for five openings on the Mental Health Board, four on the Road and Bridge Advisory Board, four on the Domestic Violence Advisory Board, one on the Sewer District Board and four on the Cape County Board for Developmental Disabilities, according to Donna Oldham, clerk for the commission. A deadline of Dec. 23 was set on the county website, but interest was only expressed in the port and industrial development boards.

Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said several applications were received after the deadline for seats on the port and industrial development boards. He proposed that an online application process be developed to make the process more consistent and so that applicant information could be kept at the ready for future consideration.

In other business, the 2012 Cape County Private Ambulance Inc. service contract of $177,000 was approved, a savings of $48,000 compared to last year.

Dr. John Russell, president of the ambulance service, said he received a letter from Auditor Pete Frazier a few months ago asking that county contractors "tighten their belts" to assist the county in maintaining services.

Russell said the organization saw significant savings in its health care plan costs when it changed insurance vendors and passed those savings along to the county.

"I would hope that other vendors in other departments would do the same," Russell said.

Russell said he looks at the county as a partner, explaining that the ambulance service relies on county roads, emergency management services and the sheriff's department in its day-to-day functions.

The ambulance had an overall operational budget for 2011 of $3.8 million, and Russell said it is adding vehicles to its fleet and full-time positions to its staff of 57 full- and part-time employees.

In an effort to gauge the quality of service provided, the commission is requesting records of 2011 complaints to the ambulance and the organization's response. The county is also asking for quarterly reports of ambulance operations in 2012. Tracy said he encourages feedback from the public, both positive and negative.

A new county policy for retirement was approved by the commission which asks that employees give at least a 60-day notice. County Clerk Kara Clark Summers said the new guideline, effective immediately, allows adequate time for processing of retirement benefits and applications to Social Security.

salderman@semissourian.com

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