County hears judicial, EMS updates

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Monroe County Probation Officer Courtney Schweickhardt spoke at Tuesday’s meeting of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners in preparation for the change in judicial districts in December.

As part of legislation passed in September 2021, St. Clair County will be the only county in the 20th judicial circuit and Monroe, Randolph, Perry and Washington counties will form a new 24th judicial circuit.

In addition to being in a new circuit, Monroe County will also get a second probation officer as well as a state-funded “pre-trial” officer.  

Schweickhardt informed commissioners she would like American Rescue Plan Act funding to update the current data collection and storage system used by the probation office.

She explained the probation office would be better served by switching to PC JIMS – the case management program used by the Monroe County Circuit Clerk’s Office. 

By making the switch, both the circuit clerk’s office and probation department would have access to  information as it is entered, eliminating the need for a part-time data entry secretary shared by Monroe and Randolph counties.

Furthermore, the conversion would also benefit the new pre-trial officer position. 

Schweickhardt said there are still many details to be finalized before the change would be necessary, but she wanted commissioners to begin considering providing ARPA funding for the new technology as the Dec. 5 judicial redistricting approaches.

Commissioners also heard a midyear budget review from Monroe County EMS Director Carla Heise. 

She told commissioners the department is staying within budget, but high gas prices coupled with EMS currently having three vehicles out of service for repairs may create a financial  strain moving forward.

Heise said she believes for now the department will not need additional funds in the current fiscal year.

She also told commissioners the industry-wide shortage of personnel has forced Monroe County EMS to be more selective in taking mutual aid calls. 

Heise explained the department had recently been helping neighboring areas in what she thought would be a short-term situation, but her department has implemented a policy only to provide mutual aid for life-threatening situations in order to keep equipment and personnel available for Monroe County.      

Members of the University of Illinois Extension Office in Monroe County also gave the board an update Tuesday during its annual impact report. 

Interim extension director Lynn Heins informed commissioners a candidate has not been found to replace Amy Cope, who resigned as director in February.

Heins said a new job posting would be up by the end of July.

Kris Juelfs, Kelly Brandt and Nathan Johanning also gave a synopsis of U of I extension activities from the past year. 

Commissioners thanked the group for their continued good work. Heins said it is rare to have a county with an extension team that is as well-rounded as the one in Monroe County.

At the beginning of the meeting, board chairman Dennis Knobloch announced bids for an audio/video update for parts of the courthouse will be opened July 14.

The next meeting of the county board will be July 18 beginning at 8:15 a.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse.    

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