Starke County Commissioners to Discuss Highway Superintendent Contract, Morgue Space

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will revisit the notion of offering Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler a long-term contract when they meet this morning. President of the Commissioners Jennifer Davis is spearheading the effort in order to maintain continuity within the department. She notes Ritzler has a multiple-year plan for road and bridge improvements and wants to see that it is carried out.

Commissioner Kent Danford previously raised concerns about the precedent such an action would set. He says possibly offering Ritzler a contract is a “test case” and adds he will say no to anyone else who requests a long-term employment contract until he sees how this works. Commissioner Kathy Norem agrees and says the county commissioners need to approach any such matters with an abundance of caution. Danford agreed at the last commissioners meeting to meet with county attorney Marty Lucas before today and come up with contract language to address his concerns.

Other items on today’s agenda include an update from coroner-elect Adam Gray on the proposed plan for a county morgue and price quotes for a coroner’s work area. The commissioners have previously discussed adding a basic, pole barn-type structure next to the Starke County EMS base in Grovertown at the intersection of U.S. 30 and State Road 23.

The commissioners will also consider approval of a non-transport billing policy for Starke County EMS to allow them to recoup expenses for medical supplies used to treat patients who are not taken to the hospital.

Other items on the commissioners agenda include renewal of the inmate supplemental insurance renewal, and update on the county employee health insurance, approval of the annual grant for Starke County Emergency Management Agency and consideration of a maintenance agreement and contract for the county’s IT department.

The commissioners meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the annex building.