Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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January 4, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 1/6/09

Happy New Year! 2009 is off and running… I sincerely hope it is a great year for you and yours.

Congratulations to our Iowa Hawkeyes on their big Outback Bowl win! We needed ’09 to get off to a good start, and that certainly helps!

Now the discussion turns to whether or not Coach Ferentz will stay with the UI. I must say, I find it maddening when I hear someone say all-knowingly, “He’s gone,” or “He’s staying put”. YOU DON”T KNOW! HE doesn’t even know! Give it a rest!

Meanwhile, we can be thankful that we have a great coach who is of interest to other teams. Go Hawks!

I know I wrote about this recently, but it bears mentioning again. I continue to drive for the shelter overflow. December 29 and 30 both required three trips with our seven-passenger minivan.

That means three vanloads full of people IN ADDITION to the 29 Shelter House could hold, and in addition to the folks at DVIP. There are many people in our community who need a place to stay.

So… you think your neighbor is a jerk? Wish the Hawks had won a few more games? Complain because you think your taxes are too high? We all need a bit of perspective.

Most Salvos readers believe in some type of religion. What are we commanded to do here? Worry more about ourselves, or provide for those with less? The crowds turned away from the shelter (turned away from the shelter- sound familiar?) are waiting for our response.

Many of you will recall that all the communities in Johnson County banded together a couple years ago to create a Joint Emergency Communication Center (JECC). As you probably know, lives are lost every year because various governmental entities are unable to communicate with other governmental entities. (September 11, 2001 in New York City is a prime example.) Once the JECC is up and running here, we will have no such communication issues.

In order to create this joint venture, the local governments entered into a series of 28E agreements. (28E refers to the enabling section of code.) Per the 28E agreement, a Policy Board exists. The current Policy Board members are Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey, Iowa City Councilor Mike Wright, Coralville Councilor Henry Herwig, North Liberty Mayor Tom Salm, Johnson County Supervisor Pat Harney, Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, and Emergency Management Director Dave Wilson. This group maintains complete oversight, including taxing authority.

That taxing authority has led us to some debates already… your tax bill does not break the JECC levy apart from your County taxes; it is lumped together. Yet the Supervisors do not approve the amount of this tax – the amount is set by the aforementioned 28E board.

The JECC has recently been seeking a Director for the new facility… that is the primary focus of my writing today. I think the JECC Board has an opportunity right now to rethink a major portion of the JECC service. I am troubled by the proposed salary of the JECC Director. At a $100,000 salary and benefits package, this person would earn almost as much as the Sheriff. The salary and benefits are simply too much, in my opinion.

Yet the Sheriff and his management staff have operated a Joint Dispatch center (serving everywhere BUT Iowa City) for years without this additional layer of bureaucracy. The Sheriff is elected countywide, and therefore accountable to all people in the County. Why not have the Sheriff run the center? Allow him and his supervisory staff to do what they have always done. Create a "lead dispatcher" position, pay them $1/hour extra, and have one of them work each shift. That will cost $8,760 per year opposed to the $100,000 a Director will cost, and it will be more accountable to the public.

The JECC Board will still set policy and budget. They could even do a 28E with the Sheriff's Department to be reviewed annually. That way, if the JECC was dissatisfied, they could bring in a Director at a later date.

Budgets are tight. We have an opportunity here to relax our turf battles and do right by the taxpayers. I hope the JECC Board will consider this option.

DID YOU KNOW? The proposed Land Use Map for Johnson County is available online at:

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- .

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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