Council considers details of hiring slowdown

The Bartholomew County Council is still working out how it will implement a hiring slowdown.

The council was asked to consider letting the county health department refill a dental hygienist position that checks county school kids for problems and teaches lessons on dental health.

During last year’s budget crunch, the County Council decided to closely evaluate every open position before deciding whether it could be filled or not. Council members at a work session last night had several views of what that approval process should look like and when it should be made.

The council hopes to reduce the county’s workforce by as much as 10 people to help trim costs in the county budget, council members said during last year’s budget hearings.

Amanda Organist, the county’s director of nursing, said that the county’s dental hygienist is leaving at the end of the week. She said the hygienist position is paid by the county, but the program itself is paid out of grant funds. She said it is important because there are a surprising number of children in the county with no knowledge of how to care for their teeth and many don’t even own a toothbrush until the hygienist gives them one.

Council members Jorge Morales and Bill Lentz said they were appalled at parents who could let their children’s dental health go untreated. Councilwoman Laura DeDomenic wondered whether the school districts should be picking up the cost for the service.

Collis Mayfield, director of the county health department, said that the department is responsible for maintaining health in the community and he thinks the hygienist position is valuable to those efforts. Organist said the hygienist also goes to local nursing homes to provide similar care during the schools’ vacation breaks.

The council will formally consider whether to allow the health department to refill the position at its meeting next Tuesday.