The Ottumwa Courier

August 2, 2013

County to secure leader of new mental health region

By CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — One more piece of the mental health redesign is falling into place.

Since the state required counties to form regions of mental health services, Wapello County banded together with Davis and Appanoose County.

At the board of supervisors meeting Tuesday, the board will vote to approve the salary and benefits for the CEO of the new South-Central Behavioral Health Region, Jennifer Vitko.

Vitko is currently the central point of coordination for Wapello County and will continue in the position.

Her CPC salary of around $55,000 will be reduced to around $48,000, but approximately $16,000 will be added for her duties as the mental health region's CEO.

The three counties will equally pay into the portion of her benefits coinciding with her CEO position.

"So actually, Wapello County will spend less for her services than it is currently, even though she's getting a pay increase, because Davis and Appanoose will pick up a share of that," said Supervisor Steve Siegel.

While Vitko will become the CEO of the region, Davis and Appanoose counties will still have one central person to represent the interests of their local clients.

These changes will take effect Sept. 1, Siegel said, even though the regionalization does not officially take effect until July 1.

"We didn't want to wait until the last minute to get this stuff running and going," he said. "She's already doing, and has been for months already, a lot of extra work to set up this region."

The board will also look at hiring two new clerks for the county recorder's office.

The office has undergone significant changes in the past few months. Around the same time that county recorder Joyce Hass retired in May, one clerk transferred to a vacancy in the auditor's office, leaving deputy recorder Lisa Kent and clerk Robin Hart.

In a special election last month, Kent won the position of recorder. Now, she hopes to hire two clerks to fill the two vacancies.

"With half the office being new, there will be some learning curve issues there," Siegel said.

The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the boardroom on the third floor of the Wapello County Courthouse.