Wayne County Council approved four new positions and took action on other personnel requests during its Sept. 6 meeting.

Council members voted 6-0 to permit county judges to hire three legal assistants and also unanimously approved a grant clerk position for the auditor’s office. All will proceed with trying to fill the positions this year.

The legal assistants will be for Circuit Court, Superior Court 1 and Superior Court 2 at a salary of $43,310 each. The cost this year will be paid with American Rescue Plan Act dollars, council decided, but the positions were added to the 2024 general fund budget during a later budget discussion.

The auditor’s grant clerk, who will track grants the county receives, will make $16.99 per hour, which equates to $35,339.20 annually. Auditor Mark Hoelscher had originally requested two clerks to track grants, then after reducing the request but not receiving council’s immediate approval, said he was withdrawing the request. A discussion prior to the Sept. 6 meeting put the position back in front of council, this time receiving the approval.

Sheriff Randy Retter received permission to change two of his positions after the retirement of full-time civil process officer Randy Brown. Retter asked to add civil process service to the duties of part-time animal control officer Jesse Moore, making that a full-time position. The full-time civil process position will become part time.

Retter cited improved efficiency by having Moore perform civil process duties while already out in the county. The part-time position will then work inside Richmond.

Council also approved the probation department hiring a bookkeeper for $21.31 per hour. The position had been reclassified to a higher wage when analyzed by county HR consultant Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele and Associates of Muncie.

Coroner Kevin Fouche had requested council make the coroner’s and chief deputy’s positions full time because of an increased case load. Council members voted 6-0 that those positions will remain part time.

After an 11-hour discussion Aug. 30 that trimmed about $4 million from the 2024 budget, council members continued paring the budget Sept. 6. They’re still waiting for the state’s estimate on income tax money available for the 2024 budget.

Council reviewed each departmental budget and made some line-item reductions as 2024 budget requests remain about $850,000 more than the 2023 budget. 

Commissioners meeting

A wellness council of county employees visited the Sept. 6 meeting of Wayne County’s commissioners to recommend a course of action for the county’s employee wellness program.

The country contracts with Reid Health to provide wellness services, but as part of recent cuts, Reid is closing its wellness department at the end of September. County employees are now using RedeemWell through Reid for wellness services, but the wellness program will move to Marquee Health.

The wellness council has recommended keeping RedeemHealth through Dec. 31, then beginning with Marquee Health on Jan. 1 for program continuity and for customization of the Marquee Health program. Commissioner Jeff Plasterer said he has asked Reid if that timeline is possible, but had not yet received an answer.

Morton honor

Sept. 9 was Gov. Oliver P. Morton 200th Birthday Celebration Day in Wayne County.

Commissioners approved a proclamation creating the day to coincide with a Centerville celebration for Morton, who served as Indiana’s governor during the Civil War.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 13 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.