Staffing changes at the county

Cook County has seen a lot of staff turnover in recent months.  This may be good news for people seeking certain types of jobs but difficult for some departments to keep up with.

Public Health & Human Services is one such department. Director Sue Futterer reported to the county board on August 27 that Child Support Officer Michael Garry had resigned after being recruited for a job with better pay.  He had been in the position for less than six months.  “County wages are not competitive with other businesses in Cook County right now,” Futterer said, “and that’s one of the reasons we’re losing staff.” 

She talked with the board about how they could find a replacement and said she was trying to “think outside the box.”  The last time the position was open, not many people passed the required test.  In addition, the job is stressful, Futterer said, with community members often unhappy about being forced to pay child support or about the other parent not paying the child support they were supposed to be paying.  One option would be to contract services from another county, she said, but that could be costly.  That option could involve trying to do some meetings by videoconference.  She wondered if they could tell the state that the county can no longer provide the service.  Constant turnover does not provide a good service to the community, she said.

The board authorized Director Futterer to initiate the hiring process and explore other options for providing the service.  Complicating the process is the fact that Personnel Director Janet Simonen retired at the beginning of August and the county administrator who will take on her duties has not been hired yet.

County administrator

The board met via Skype with consultant David Unmacht about the process of hiring a county administrator.  Unmacht had recommended nine of the 36 applicants for further consideration, but one of those applicants had withdrawn his application.  Unmacht and the board talked about other applicants they might want to include, and the board picked three more. 

Unmacht said the content of a lot of the resumes and follow-up questionnaires he sent out was good, but some of the writing skills were “disappointing.”

The board will talk to Unmacht on September 3 and decide which candidates they would like to interview and will conduct first interviews on September 13.

Other open positions

The board approved hiring Rick Sturm to fill the Recycling Center Operator position vacated by Jeff Sylvester upon his retirement.  Sturm has been working there for 20 years.  Sometime this fall, the position vacated by Sturm will be posted and open to the public.  The operator position was only posted internally.

The Highway Department will be advertising for an engineering technician upon the resignation of Andrew Graupmann.  He took a job closer to his hometown in southern Minnesota.  The board accepted the resignation with regret.  “He’s been a good member of our team,” said Highway Engineer David Betts.