Tama County swears in elected officials, honors years of service

Tama County officials elected in the November general election were sworn in by District 1 Supervisor Larry Vest on Dec. 28. Pictured taking the oath of office at the county Administration Building are (from left): Laura Kopsa, Tama County Auditor; Dennis Kucera, Tama County Sheriff; Dan Anderson District 3 Supervisor and Bill Faircloth, District 1 Supervisor.

At the most recent Tama County Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec. 28 the four county officials elected in November’s general election were sworn in. Newly elected District 2 Supervisor Bill Faircloth joined District 3 Supervisor Dan Anderson, Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera and County Auditor Laura Kopsa in taking the oath of office, administered by District 1 Supervisor Larry Vest.

Faircloth won the election over three-term incumbent Kendall Jordan who has served on the board since 2009. Kucera won his fifth reelection bid in November over challenger Jeffrey Schrock of Toledo.

Kopsa and Anderson both ran unopposed with Kopsa now entering her fourth term and Anderson beginning his third term in January.

The board also recognized a number of years of service awards for county employees. The awards are typically given out in the spring but were delayed this year due to the pandemic.

The awards are given in five year increment milestones. Those receiving years of service awards in 2020 include the following.

5 years: Jeremy Cremeans, 911 Director; Todd Apfel, Sanitarian/Zoning; Brandee Ferneau, Roads; Carlyssa Heller, Roads; Derek Kulhavy, Roads; Landon Read, Roads; David Sherwood, Landfill; Penny Tyynismaa, Public Health.

10 years: Lucas Dvorak, Sheriff Deputy, Christine Kriegel, Janitor; Terry Purvis, Roads; Wesley Ray, Assessor (across multiple counties).

15 years: Gina Hoskey, Public Health.

20 years: Lyle Brehm, Engineer; Brenda Bridges, Public Health; Trevor Killian, Deputy Sheriff; Curt Kriegel, Roads; Ann Princehouse, Treasurer’s Office; Michele Taylor, EMA; Craig Wise, Conservation; Tamara Wise, Human Resources.

25 years: Larry Vest, Supervisor.

30 years: Randi Brodigan, Roads; Daniel Vesely, Roads.

Brehm expounded upon the work of Brodigan and Vesely as they have this year celebrated three decades serving the county with the secondary roads department.

“Randie has been in several different positions and operated a lot of equipment over the years, but his primary task right now, besides pushing snow in the winter, is to operate a tracked excavator,” Brehm said. “He works to clean ditches and perform other dirt work all over Tama County. Randie also serves as the Assistant Foreman for the eastern portion of the county, filling in during the absence of the foreman. Randie is from the Dysart area and is very active in the community, contributing many hours of volunteer work.”

“Dan spent many years working as a mechanic at the shop north of Toledo,” Brehm said. “He excelled in that position for many years by using his experience and advanced knowledge to troubleshoot and repair equipment. A few years ago he chose to dedicate his talents to operating a motor grader in the Dysart area. He has done well at this also. Dan also spends time farming.”

ACCESS update

Courtney Palmersheim, ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support) Development Coordinator presented to the board on Dec. 28 about some potential funding issues the ACCESS organization may be facing in 2021.

Since 2013, ACCESS has offered an array of human services to survivors of domestic violence in Tama County including a 24/7 crisis line, short term counseling, housing assistance, crisis response services and support groups.

Roughly 25% of ACCESS’s budget comes through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fund. VOCA gains its funding from the fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders in white collar crimes.

According to Palmersheim, the VOCA fund has seen a recent 25% decrease due to a decline in prosecutions of federal white collar crimes.

She expects the effects of the VOCA decrease to trickle down to organizations like ACCESS, although it’s yet not clear how much federal funding may be cut.

Palmersheim said the intent of her presentation was to aprise the board of the potential funding issue as they look towards 2021.

Currently the county provides $2,000 per year to support the ACCESS budget.

Board of Supervisors Quick Hits

Tama County Veterans Affairs will soon replace their van that transports Tama County veterans to and from the VA Medical Centers in Iowa City and Des Moines. The previous van was damaged in the derecho. Funding to replace the van will come from insurance reimbursements and the existing Veterans Affairs budget.

On Dec. 14 the board approved the purchase of a 2016 Chrysler Town & Country van from Luethje Auto in Gladbrook.

The Tama County Compensation Board met in early December and voted to recommend a 3% pay increase for all elected officials in the upcoming fiscal year. The pay increase was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 21 by a unanimous vote.

The board recently appointed three members to the county’s Magistrate Appointing Commission. Todd Kruse of Tama, Lori Baier of Tama and Robert Hill of Dysart were appointed to the commission on Dec. 21 and will serve a six year term.