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Douglas County Board appoints Heather Skinner to coroner vacancy

By Kendra Hennis
Staff Writer

The regularly scheduled June 17 Douglas County Board meeting was called to order at 9 a.m. All members were present, with board member Glen joining in via Zoom. Following the approval of old buisness items, the board moved to the new buisness section of the meeting.

The first order of business was the board’s unanimous approval of resolution 20-R-13, abolishing the Douglas County Sheriff’s Merit Commission. This request was made by Sheriff Blackwell in the June 8 Law and Order subcommittee meeting. Blackwell’s reasoning for this is, “the

Merit Commission has served its purpose over the years, the majority of the employees are now covered by a collective bargaining agreement and according to statue, any disciplinary measures up to and including termination have to be handled by the agreement or through an arbitrator resulting in the inability of the Merit Commission to act. This inability to act goes against the very reason to have a Merit Commission in place, thus, negating the need for the Merit Committee to remain in effect. Employees not covered by a collective agreement are covered by the Douglas County Employee Personal Handbook which has rules that are the same or substantially similar to the Merit Commission rules.”

The board then moved forward with appointing Heather Skinner as the new Douglas County Coroner. Skinner is a Newman resident and currently works as a registered nurse for Christie Clinic. Skinner was appointed to serve the vacancy following coroner Joe Victor’s untimely death.

Due to the nature of the position and the fact that Victor was the Republican candidate on the ballot for the November general election, the Douglas County Republican Center Party met to decide on a candidate for the recommendation. They then brought to their recommendation, Skinner, to the Douglas County Board to vote on. Board President Don Munson accepted the committee’s recommendation, and further extended his recommendation of Skinner to the board. Skinner will also serve as the Republican nominee for the Douglas County coroner in the

November general election. Sheriff Blackwell noted that Skinner is very knowledgeable of the duties of the office, and said “with guidance from those who have done the job in the past, as well as out office, I have no doubt that she can effectively do this job.”

The board also:

* Approved the minutes from the May 5 special board meeting.

* Approved the minutes from the May 20 regular board meeting.

* Approved the payment of the county’s financial obligations.

* Approved the reports of fees of the County Offices.

* Approved renewing an agreement with Douglas County and the Coles County Council on Aging for transportation in Douglas County.

* Reappointed Larry Bushu as trustee to the Douglas County Historical Museum District for a 5-year term.

* Approved resolution 20-R-12 for the cancellation of certificate of purchase for parcel 09-02-34-316-007.

* Adjourned until the July 15 board meeting at 9 a.m.

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