by Mari Radtke
A regular meeting of the O’Brien County Conservation Board made quick work of a variety of business topics. On September 8 the board reviewed and considered the compensation of campground hosts, contracts and the duties and responsibilities for the hosts at each campground. Board chair Tom Konz explained he is beginning a conversation with the hosts about those topics for the coming year and explaining how they play a critical role for the board to improve the parks and park operations.
The sale of certain equipment was an agenda item for the board. Director Travis Scott informed the board that one former ranger was taking a position at Sioux County Conservation. The vest that each ranger wears is custom-fit and theirs were new. He enquired about buying his from O’Brien County at full price. The vest will be exchanged for a new vest once a new officer is hired. Scott also reported that former O’Brien County rangers said their guns had been offered to them and wanted to know if a decision had been made. Amber Wetherell explained that had been mentioned during the closed sessions with the former rangers as they were quitting en mass in May. She was clear it was not a motion because it was in a closed session. Scott is looking into legal procedures to dispose of county (taxpayer) property before the board set terms.
Getting volunteers at Prairie Heritage Center proves to be a continuing problem. The discussion on September 8 centered on the allowable duties of volunteers and how much of a background check is required. Discussion revealed that volunteer training with the reservation system would be a benefit if volunteers were allowed to answer the phone. Leaving messages for others about reservations was having some errors. That brought out a question from the audience why online reservations aren’t an option for O’Brien County. Scott reported that the system is being looked into and that because much of the available rentals next year are already made.
A long discussion about the kinds of skills and times volunteers are needed was had. Konz addressed communication between staff and Little Sioux Valley Conservation Association volunteers and how the two organizations work together. Konz also stated, “We need to show the public that we are working with these groups, not only Little Sioux but also Sportsmens’ Club and these other groups.”
by Mari Radtke