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Commissioners discuss insurance, grade schoolers combat invasives

by Rima Austin Western News
| January 29, 2019 3:00 AM

During their regular meeting Wednesday, the Lincoln County Commissioners discussed the importance of educating employees about their benefits, and heard from the County Weed Department Program director about a program that rewards children for removing invasive species.


Pete Shatwell with the Leavitt Group — Lincoln County’s employee benefits management service — and Kyle Clemons with American Fidelity spoke to the County Commissioners Wednesday about employee benefits.

American Fidelity has shown interest in offering benefits in addition to the medical benefits employees already receive. These additional benefits include critical illness and accident insurance that would help an employee should an emergency happen which causes them to have to miss work.

“One of the things that I am real big on, just as a personal philosophy, is the education of the employees,” said Shatwell. “Medical care is more confusing and consolidated, and it’s more expensive than it’s ever been. One of the pieces I want to ramp up this year is getting in front of your employees and providing lots of opportunities to learn more about all of their benefits.”

Shatwell told the County Commissioners Leavitt would like to discuss options and explain benefits with the employees as a whole. After that, American Fidelity would talk with each member individually to ask if they would like to add coverage to their plans.

“One thing we see across the board is the lack of communication and education,” said Clemons. “You can have the best benefit package in the world — like here, it is unheard of for employers to pay 100 percent family coverage and, needless to say, that is incredible — but a lot of times employees still don’t have answers to basic questions, and that is really what we try to do is answer those questions.”

No decisions were made at the meeting. Shatwell said he would keep in touch with County Human Resources Manager, Dallas Bowe, and would let the board know when they will be available to talk with county employees.

Children battle

invasive weeds

Lincoln County Weed Department Program Director Dan Williams told the County Commissioners about a program that rewards grade-school children for turning in weeds considered “new invaders.”

“We’ve had really, really good kids roaming around looking (for the weeds),” said Williams. “Then we pay grade-school kids. If they find it, they get a $50 reward.”

When asked how the children know what a new invader weed looks like, he said the schools should be teaching them to the children.

Williams said the Weed Department at one time went to the schools to teach the children about invasives, but that program has since been canceled. However, they are trying to reinstate it.

Williams said if a child wanted to turn in the new invader they found, they can reach out to him at 406-293-0651 to collect their money.

After the report on bio-control and his department’s success with that, Williams reminded the board he will be advertising for his replacement in April. In an interview after the board meeting, Williams said the new replacement will then shadow him until he leaves the position for good in September of this year.

Other items discussed from the agenda included:

Replacing the Tobacco Prevention Representative. According to Lincoln County Health Department Public Health Manager, Jennifer McCully, the current representative is out on maternity leave and has decided not to return when that leave is up. McCully asked the board for permission to advertise for the position. A motion was made and seconded and approved in a vote. The position will be part-time.

Discussion for the support of a Recreational Trails Program grant for fishing pond amenities.