Emery County Commission Holds Public Hearing for Mental Heath and Substance Abuse Programs

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Karen Dolan, Four Corners Community Behavioral Health. ETV News stock photo.

By Julie Johansen

A public hearing for presentation and public comment on the annual mental health/substance use disorder program was held during the Emery County Commission meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Karen Dolan, Director of Four Corners Community Behavioral Health, gave a short slideshow presentation regarding the program.

She explained that Four Corners works with three counties, including Grand, Carbon and Emery. Each county is the authority for its own program. Four Corners has 13 employees and they are required by law to have an annual public hearing.

At crisis times, Four Corners works closely with the county sheriff and county attorney. Three citizens testified to the success they have found through working with Four Corners while one concerned citizen wanted to know how to receive intervention help before reaching a crisis mode. Dolan explained that they are governed by law to civil commitment and they work with five drug courts, including one in Emery County as well as two each in Grand and Carbon counties.

Also during the meeting, another concern with citizens and employees is the phasing out of library janitors county-wide through attrition or reduction in force. Several librarians from across the county voiced their dismay at this consideration. They felt that this would add more responsibility to their already busy schedules as well as the unemployment for those losing their jobs. The commission decided to table the matter until a director for the county is chosen. Then, the library board would make the decision.

Commissioner Gil Conover did remark that because of economics, all areas of county employment are looking at cutbacks. However, he stated that all assistant librarians will receive a 6% raise.

Robbie Jensen from the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments gave an update on the County Aging Department. He reported that some activities will now join with Carbon County. He also stated that the carport on the Ferron Senior Center will soon open for bids. Also, he is hopeful that the Green River Senior Center will be back up and running soon with the selection of a new director following the retirement of the previous director. At the Huntington Senior Center, they are hopeful of a scout project to install a new flag pole. He also announced that a suicide prevention group meets regularly at the Castle Dale Senior Center on Tuesdays.

In conclusion of the meeting, county officials gave reports to the larger-than-usual audience. Sheriff Funk reported a busy time for his department with many arrests and trainings as well as staying informed on the current legislative session. Emery County Search and Rescue members have been in training for the past week and another week will follow, Funk also reported. He was especially hopeful about a bill at the legislature that would increase retirement benefits for law enforcement from 37% to 50% after 25 years of service.

Attorney Mike Olsen agreed with Sheriff Funk about the time required at the state legislature to assure the passage or dismissal of legislation that would affect Emery County.

To conclude, commissioner Kent Wilson reported that there were 207 new jobs in Emery County during the last six months of 2018, which resulted in a 7.6% job increase.

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