County Notes 7/11/13

WashCo_logoPact continues program

The Sentence-to-Service alternative to jail time for non-violent offenders will continue after the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday with the state to continue the program.

The agreement runs from July 1 to June 30, 2015, with the state providing 25 percent of the costs to operate four STS crews in the county. The new funding figure is down from the previous 50 percent state funding that was reduced by the Legislature in 2010.

The county will receive almost $149,000 in state revenue during fiscal years 2014 and 2015 and must provide 75 percent of program funds.

STS is a jail alternative program for low-risk offenders designed to repay the community for the offenders’ crimes. STS avoids costly incarceration, provides public-benefit work projects for public, non-profit and government agencies and offers offenders meaningful work experiences. Projects are done under STS crew leader supervision.

County officials said the STS program contributes almost 85,000 hours of community service annually.

Audit finds no problems

Washington County’s Internal Audit Committee found no instances of fraud in 2012 county government operations in its annual report presented to the Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

The four-member audit committee — made up of the County Board chair or designee, county administrator and two citizens — reviewed the internal auditor’s tests of 3.3 percent of the county’s more than 19,000 disbursements in 2012 and 88.6 percent of dollars spent.

The internal auditor also reviews purchases by county employees with procurement cards and conducts weekly reviews of the county’s check register. The internal auditor also works with outside auditor CliftonLarsonAllen during field work on the annual audit.

Board OKs hiring nurses

Washington County will fill nursing positions in the County Jail and a nursing supervisor slot for the county’s growing home visiting program after the Board of Commissioners approved the hirings Tuesday.

Commissioners authorized hiring 1.5 nursing positions for the jail due to increasing health care needs of inmates and number of nursing hours required to provide care. County officials said the current 3.3 full-time nursing staff is inadequate to meet hours of service needed in the jail.

The current jail nursing staff is working overtime to meet demand, so costs of the new positions are being incurred, officials added.

State law requires the county to provide medical care to jail inmates.

The nursing supervisor will oversee the county’s 11 public health nurses in the home visiting program, officials said, adding that additional staff supervision is needed as the evidence-based program moves to accreditation.

Compiled by Erik Sandin – erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com

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