Country View care center in Waterloo.

WATERLOO -- Black Hawk County supervisors are struggling with plans to replace a key management position at the Country View care center.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to begin the hiring process to replace assistant administrator Genevieve Shafer, who is resigning from the county-owned nursing and mental health center effective Feb. 9.

Supervisor Chris Schwartz voted against filling the position now after suggesting the county should wait until after it develops a plan to deal with Country View's financial woes.

"It's not because I don't want to fill the position," Schwartz said. "I think that it's critical that we get this right.

"To get the best candidate we could need to have some clear direction from the board on the future of Country View. I'll be clear to you that I won't vote for a budget this year that doesn't keep Country View open.

"I think until we have unanimous clarity one way or another it's going to be pretty difficult to get a really highly qualified person," Schwartz added.

Country View is expected to support itself. But Medicaid reimbursements have failed to cover costs, creating operating losses that forced the supervisors to tap county reserve funds to pay the bills.

Board members are hoping to set a course for Country View's future during the current budget process and tentatively expect to address the facility's budget in a Jan. 25 work session.

Supervisors who voted to fill the position asked Country View Administrator Dennis Coleman to consider whether his assistant's position could be changed to create a better management structure.

"We want additional information," said Supervisor Frank Magsamen. "If there are changes in the job description, what would make this position (better)?"

Meanwhile, the supervisors this week voted 4-1 to transfer another $500,000 in county general fund reserves to Country View. That boosts the subsidy to $1.5 million since the current fiscal year started July 1.

Supervisor Tom Little voted against it.

"I've said before that I wasn't going to support any more transfers until the county actually had a concrete plan in place," Little said.

Board chairman Craig White continue to voice support for the embattled facility.

"There's 130 people out there who do not have a voice," White said. "There's special needs people; there's a whole gamut of different things wrong with these people who are not able to speak for themselves.

"We've also got 170 employees out there who do a wonderful job of helping these people on a daily basis."


Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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