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Chippewa County, Minnesota, looking to improve delivery of services, employee morale

The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners adopted a strategic plan that offers a range of recommendations to improve how services are delivered with goal toward a "one-stop shop." The overall vision is to "deliver quality services with compassion, integrity."

123021.Chippewa County Courthouse
Chippewa County has adopted a strategic plan aimed at improving the delivery of services to constituents and employee morale. Tom Cherveny / West Central Tribune file photo
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MONTEVIDEO — Chippewa County is looking at ways to improve the delivery of services to constituents, as well as employee morale.

They are among the chief goals in a strategic plan adopted Tuesday by the County Board of Commissioners .

The plan was developed by a 12-member steering committee of county employees and a Board of Commissioners representative. The results of an employee survey were used in a meaningful way to complete the plan, according to Jeremy Gilb, highway engineer and steering committee member.

The commissioners gave the plan unanimous support at their meeting Tuesday.

“I think this is good,” said Commissioner Matt Gilbertson as discussions on it concluded.

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The commissioners asked that the plan include a statement to make clear the county’s commitment to an ongoing process to evaluate the compensation matrix, as well as review job descriptions to make sure they remain accurate.

The plan calls for moving forward toward a “one-stop shop” experience for county constituents to improve services. One step in that direction is already underway: The county has contracted with Klein McCarthy Architects to analyze its facilities and space needs and the possible reconfiguration of offices.

The plan also recommends taking steps to improve communication among employees and departments, to conduct cross-training, and to possibly combine offices with similar purposes and clients as among the ways to improve services.

Employees gave the county an average score of 6.14 on a scale of 10 in terms of reaching the one-stop shop goal. Employees indicated that improvements could help create a more welcoming environment for those accessing county services.

One of the obvious challenges is that offices are segregated and scattered among different locations.

“Directing the public to multiple buildings can create confusion and frustration,” states the plan.

Employees gave the county average scores of 6.96 and 7.46 on the scale when asked how respectful their work environment is and how supportive of their work the county is, respectively. Suggestions for improvements included communication and training, more collaboration among departments, and more accountability.

The survey also included an employee letter urging more interaction and communication with the county commissioners.

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Other suggestions raised in the plan ranged from developing a county newsletter to more frequent updates to the county website.

County Auditor/Treasurer Michelle May said the plan is designed to be a “live document” to be updated as changes occur. She said it will be important that the county holds itself accountable to implementing the plan and its goals.

The county has experienced some recent turnover in its Human Resources and Information Technology departments. Involvement by those departments will be very important going forward, with about 75% of the goals related to HR, she noted.

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