St. Joseph County’s search for a new administrator resulted in an unexpected selection Tuesday.
J. Patrick Yoder, who held the position from its inception in 1990 until 1994, has accepted the job, which is the highest, non-elected position in county government.
A native of Suttons Bay, the 63-year-old Yoder met with commissioners during a work session to discuss his potential role as a recruiter to help find a replacement for Judy West-Wing. She retired last month after spending the last two decades of her 30-year career with the county as its administrator.
During the course of the hour-long discussion Tuesday, it became clear that Yoder was a viable candidate after he indicated his interest in the role, according to board chairman John Dobberteen.
Yoder, whose contract as village manager of Three Oaks expires in mid-March, will start his new job April 1. Salary and benefits will be negotiated in the meantime, though Dobberteen said a likely starting salary will be close to West-Wing’s $85,000 annual pay at the time of her retirement.
The St. Joseph County Animal Control Advisory Board had a long list of accomplishments in 2012, its first full year.
Former board chairperson Lynda Molter presented the panel’s inaugural annual report to members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. Molter said a major accomplishment was the animal shelter getting rid of its gas chamber, a euthanasia chamber the agency previously used to put down dogs and cats.
Molter said other highlights included extended hours on Wednesdays and limited hours on Saturdays during the summer; the use of injections by any of the department’s three trained members to put down dogs and cats not adopted; and the creation of a job description for a kennel staff member. Funding for the position, however, was denied by county commissioners.
In addition, Molter said a policy was put into effect where individuals with a record of domestic violence or other violent crimes could be denied adopting an animal.
Long-term-plans eyed by the seven-member Animal Control Advisory Board include visions of a new shelter.
St. Joseph County’s former administrator, Judy West-Wing, ended her 30-year career with the county Wednesday.
The 54-year-old Centreville resident announced over the summer her plans to retire this month, in part to spend more time with her family, including her 10-year-old daughter.
With the county’s 2013 budget approved last month and other loose ends tied up this month, West-Wing said she is proud of her work with the county and leaves with a heavy heart.
Members of the county commission are in the midst of deciding whether to hire a firm to help it find a replacement or if they will handle the interviewing and screening on their own.
West-Wing, a Flint-area native and Michigan State alumna, was earning more than $85,000 a year.
St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners has agreed to hire Lindsay Howes as the county’s grant writer.
Howes, who has most recently served as Three Rivers city clerk since 2007, was approved to the position Tuesday by the five-member commission.
A 32-year-old Three Rivers resident, Howes will be paid $50,000 a year, with $30,000 of the salary paid by the county, and the balance split evenly by the cities of Three Rivers and Sturgis.
Her employment is in an at-will capacity, according to a term of her contract.
The job has been vacant since Marcia Saunders left the post in April 2011.
St. Joseph County Administrator Judy West-Wing was honored Tuesday by current and past members of the county’s Board of Commissioners.
The session was West-Wing’s last, as she is retiring next week and ending a 30-year tenure as a St. Joseph County employee.
Current commissioners were joined by former members Eric Shafer, John Bippus, Larry Walton and others as West-Wing was presented a watch with the inscription “St. Joseph County – 30 years” on its back.
A choked-up West-Wing thanked commissioners for the gift and their kind words.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners has given the green light to the use of a trained dog for therapeutic and calming purposes.
Commissioners on Tuesday OK’d an agreement with Linda Baker, victims’ rights coordinator who works for the county prosecutor’s office.
Baker said three other counties in the state have dogs used for victims or witnesses who need a calming presence when they meet with prosecutors and investigators for interviews related to a case.
Baker has agreed to keep the dog, as well as pay for its food and medical care. It would accompany her to work and be available on an as-needed basis for victims or witnesses who are nervous or intimidated during the interview process.
An anonymous St. Joseph County resident has given $500 to purchase the dog, which will come from a professionally trained school.