Murray Co. Sheriff provides new work structure to board

Photo by Jody Isaackson Murray County Sheriff Steve Telkamp presents the new structure of his department to county commissioners on Tuesday.

SLAYTON — As promised earlier this month, Murray County Sheriff Steve Telkamp delivered an organizational structure chart for his office to county commissioners Tuesday that could increase his budget by almost $60,000.

However, Auditor/Treasurer Heidi Winter presented several options that would offset that increase.

The chart included a new title of lieutenant under the sheriff’s direction. It’s listed on the same level as emergency management and investigator, but the position’s duties were already being fulfilled by Deputy Chris Lewis, the sheriff said. Telkamp was there to get the board’s approval for the new structure, which wouldn’t require much more funding than what they were already running on with the right reductions in other line items, he said.

Telkamp’s structure calls for a $58,282 increase in the budget due to Telkamp’s proposed raise for the deputy serving on the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force and the reclassification of a part-time to a full-time lieutenant position. It also includes full time and part-time wages, PERA, Medicare, Employer Contribution to insurance and Employer Contribution to VEBA.

Winter presented a budget scenarios handout to the commissioners that showed several options to offset the $58,282.

The first option was a wait-and-see approach: Approve changes and make adjustments as necessary at the end of 2018 if added hours cause sheriff’s budget to go over.

“This could be feasible since Steve is well under budget by about $114,000 for 2017,” she said.

Option two is a reduction to the sheriff’s 2018 budget by reducing the number of vehicles to purchase from two to one — saving $30,000 on the budget, reducing professional and technical fees by $5,000, reducing auto and equipment repairs and parts by $4,000 and reducing boarding of prisoners or another budget line of $20,000.

“These cuts still leave ample money in the budget for these items based on history,” Winter said. “There’s historically room for a $20,000 reduction in the boarding of prisoners line.”

Option three is to look for reductions outside of the sheriff’s budget, such as building improvements, which would still leave $317,595 for court building, roof and other repairs, Winter said.

Option four is to reduce the sheriff’s 2018 budget through a combination of a reduction in vehicles and the wait-and-see approach and the boarding of prisoners or another budget line.

Option five would be a combination of any of the other four options or come up with new ideas from scratch, Winter said.

“The budget would also be offset by not having the canine program,” Telkamp said. The budget would save $10,000 by relying on the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force for drug dogs as the county is already paying for that per diem. Plus, the task force person’s position is about 75 percent grant funded, he said.

After getting some questions answered, the board asked the sheriff to return at the next meeting with a breakdown of how the proposed changes would affect the entire budget.

Telkamp was also invited back on a monthly basis to give updates to the board.

The Murray County commissioners met in closed session for three items on Tuesday’s agenda. The first was to consider the purchase of land.

The second closed portion of the meeting was to communicate regarding a matter that is protected by the attorney-client privilege as permitted by Minnesota State Statute. The county’s employment counsel, Laurel Pugh, was to join them by telephone to discuss the matter, County Coordinator Aurora Heard said.

Finally, the board went into a third closed portion of the meeting for the purpose of conducting a performance evaluation of Heard. Following the meeting, Heard communicated by email that the board summarized her 2017 performance review as “meeting expectations.”