Search begins for new conservation director

Logan Roberts served as the Tama County Conservation Director from April 2019 to Dec. 2020. Roberts resigned in December and has taken a job with the Iowa DNR. Tama County Conservation is currently seeking applications to fill the director position.

Tama County Conservation is once again in search of a new director.

Former director Logan Roberts submitted her letter of resignation to the Tama County Conservation Board in December and finished her last day with the county on Dec. 25.

Roberts has taken a new position as a business operations manager with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in their Parks, Forests and Preserves Bureau.

Roberts worked for Tama County Conservation for three and a half years, first as a naturalist. She was promoted to the director position in April of 2019 following the retirement of long-time director Bob Etzel.

Roberts was active in her programming initiatives with Tama County Conservation and prior to the pandemic, was often found visiting schools, libraries and community gatherings promoting environmental education.

Roberts was the 2019 recipient of the Lance J. Horbach Award through the Tama County Community Foundation for a modular conservation science curriculum project she spearheaded through her department.

The Tama County Conservation Board approved the posting of the director position for hire during their January meeting. Applications are still being accepted through Feb. 8.

No changes were made to the job description following Roberts departure and the salary range will remain at $59,000 to $68,000.

Current full time staff with the county conservation department are Maintenance Supervisor Craig Wise, Naturalist Brendan Kelly and Conservation Technician Dustin Horne.

Tama Co. Supervisors Update

During their Jan. 11 regular meeting the Tama County Board of Supervisors met with Bernie Lowe from insurance provider Bernie Lowe & Associates to review the outlook of the county’s employee insurance plan.

Lowe estimated that the county would see a 16% increase in insurance cost this year, primarily due to prescription drugs. Lowe said claims for medical visits by county employees remained steady in 2020.

The board plans to build the increase into their departmental budgets rather than pass along the cost to employees. The county budget process is underway for the next fiscal year and will be up for a public hearing and a vote late in the first quarter of 2021.

Bob Lincoln was before the board on Jan. 11 to give an introduction about the new certified community behavioral health clinic he has opened in Black Hawk County.

Elevate CCBHC was opened in Waterloo in late 2020 and plans to serve 14 counties in the region including Tama County.

Lincoln said Elevate will look to work with the Tama County Sheriff’s Office and the county 911 department to offer mental health specialists that could be dispatched as part of a mobile crisis team. The specialists would augment the law enforcement services provided by the county and allow for a mental health professional to step in and assist in a crisis situation when it would be safe and appropriate to do so.

Elevate CCBHC is a program funded through a $4 million federal grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

At their Jan. 18 regular meeting the board accepted and approved quarterly reports from the sheriff’s office, auditor’s office and veteran’s affairs department.

Communications Director Jeremy Cremeans was appointed as Tama County’s representative on the SARA (Shared Area Radio Agreement) Board. The board is comprised of all counties and cities that use the SARA radio system.