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Carlton County employee airs union grievance

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners listened as a union grievance was aired during the regular board meeting Tuesday morning at the Carlton County Transportation Building. Renee Gaffney said she believes the hiring process had been applied ...

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners listened as a union grievance was aired during the regular board meeting Tuesday morning at the Carlton County Transportation Building.

Renee Gaffney said she believes the hiring process had been applied unfairly. Her AFSCME Council 65 representative, Sarah Lewerenz, said Gaffney should have been offered the case aide for Public Health and Human Services position as the most qualified and senior of the applicants.

The county denied the grievance in a past meeting, saying they hired the applicant who scored highest at the interviews as they have done in the past. Gaffney scored third.

After Lewerenz said she believed the understanding of the wording for hiring was flawed, she said her client clearly was the most qualified. When she finished speaking, she asked Gaffney to explain to the commissioners what her current job entails.

Gaffney answered the questions, saying that she has been essentially doing the job and has many years experience. The person hired just finished her six month probation period in her position. Gaffney ended by telling the board that she would even be required to train the new person in to do her job, as the new person does not know how and Gaffney does.

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The board met in a closed session to discuss the grievance and will need to respond within the next 10 days.

Board discusses City Hall building

County Coordinator Dennis Genereau asked commissioners to consider acquiring the City Hall building after city staff relocate in the next year.

He explained some departments are crammed into tight quarters and it would be beneficial to move them. He said the courthouse is filled to capacity and needs more room. He mentioned moving offices out of the second story of the courthouse to provide some breathing room and possibly another judge some day.

"Probation is crammed in, but they don't complain," Genereau said.

He said Human Resources, Building Maintenance and Restorative Justice could be moved to the City Hall building, which he doesn't believe needs much remodeling. He also said the departments could bring a lot of their furniture and the city would probably leave some of theirs.

When asked how the county would pay for the building, Genereau said one possibility is making payments over the next four years, maybe interest-free.

The board gave permitted him to gather more date and present at the next regular meeting.

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Shaw Library has interested buyer

There is a party interested in purchasing the Shaw Memorial Library building. Bailey/Kadelback/Langley scored the highest points of the two proposals the county received, based on its ability to undertake the rehabilitation necessary. It has an engineering firm interested in renting space as soon as the work is finished.

The Carlton County Historical Society is concerned about the short notice. The buyers would want to take possession as soon as possible to begin work. CCHS said they need time to pack their fragile items and would prefer the county hire a professional packer.

They also do not have a new place to call home yet. They are looking into a few options, including relocating to Moose Lake and its Historical Society.

The board moved to table any actions for the Shaw building for the next regular meeting July 23.

At the end of the meeting, BKV Group gave a presentation to explain to the board and other county entities how they could help move the Carlton County Jail and Criminal Justice System Planning Study forward.

BKV Group had responded to a request for proposal to propel the study forward. BKV Group has not been hired yet.

The commissioners listened to the presentation and asked questions, but did not take any action at the meeting.

Related Topics: CARLTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
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