By Ken DeLaat
The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners heard a report from the three members of the Department of Health & Human Services Board during their first meeting of the year on Wednesday January 10th.
Board member Mike Mercer shared some statistics while delivering praise to Newaygo County Director Lori Schultz and her staff for their work in the community.
“These people do a phenomenal job and go over and above the mandated services,”
Mr. Mercer also spoke about the Medical Care Facility and the industry-wide challenge with regard to staffing. With the closing of the Brookhaven facility in Muskegon there were recruiting opportunities to help bring in more staff.
Commissioner Vern Willett inquired about capacity percentages and it was reported the facility has maintained over 90% and is in healthy financial position as compared to other facilities across the state that might be struggling.
“When I talk to people at conferences from other boards it seems like we are a step ahead of most of them,” said Mr. Mercer.
Ben Landheer and Steve Johnson the other members of the board also answered questions from commissioners.
The board approved a resolution to contract with Paul Wagner D.O. and Mid Michigan M.E. Group for Medical Examination Services. Administrator Chris Wren reported on the progress of the morgue stating additional counties have begun to sign on for inclusion in the joint effort originally undertaken by Mecosta and Newaygo. Mr. Wren spoke to the current cost savings as well as the outlook for further resources coming to the county from this collaborative enterprise. A representative from the group, Lisa Kaspriak, fielded questions from commissioners regarding procedures and how they determine the need for an autopsy. Ms. Kaspriak detailed their diligence in determining cause of death and spoke to situations when examinations revealed a much different story than what might have been initially assumed.
A pair of motions were made by Commissioner Willett regarding changes in compensation for county commissioners. Both motions were seconded and discussed. Both failed by a 5-1 margin(Commissioner Chris Ortwein was not in attendance) with Mr. Willett casting the lone vote for approval. Commissioner Chuck Trapp expressed that these motions came without any figures or research behind them and stated he was unwilling to vote for any motion brought to the board without such information.
In other business the board appointed Mark Pitzer to the Board of Public Works.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Wednesday January 24th at the County Administration Building in White Cloud. The meetings begin at 9:30am.