MARINETTE — The Marinette County Law Enforcement Committee approved a resolution Monday that it hopes will resolve a staffing problem in the Child Support Agency and make it more efficient by training some of its child support specialists to perform financial duties.

The committee voted 4-0 to recommend to the Personnel Committee to eliminate a financial specialist position and create an additional child support specialist position.

The request to justify the move says "The Marinette County Child Support Department handles approximately 3,600 child support cases. As of Oct. 13, the department had one trained financial specialist with no backup: therefore there is no one to enter orders or perform other financial duties if this employee was absent for any reason."

It calls for some of the child support specialists to be trained to perform financial duties as needed and to assign them lighter caseloads.

"The cross-training will greatly reduce if not eliminate the possibility of not having an employee who is trained to enter the orders," said the request.

Interim Child Support Director Sue Hinch told the committee that the State of Wisconsin allows an agency the size of what Marinette County has with 5-10 full-time employees to have up to three staff with the security access needed to perform financial duties.

"We had someone designated as backup to our financial specialist, but last month she left the county so we are right now with no one who can enter time-sensitive orders if our financial specialist is out of our office," she explained. "There's not enough work for two financial specialists so what we propose is to eliminate the financial specialist position and create an additional child support support specialist position.

"If you approve this we would like to train child support specialists to perform the financial responsibilities. Three of them would be assigned a lighter case load and share one-third of the financial duties."

Supervisor Ken Keller, chairman of the committee, said he favored cross-training the child support specialists, but questioned how much training it is going to be needed to "have them up to par as a financial specialist.

"There is training available in Green Bay, it is a two-day training session," Hinch said. "It's called beginner financial training.

"Two of them are signed for one next week. That's all the openings that are available right now. Typically the financial specialist in the office does quite a bit of the training."

"After reviewing the job description, I think there is quite a bit of responsibilities as far as what they have to do," Keller said.

"We used to have two (financial specialists) and there just wasn't enough work," Hinch reiterated. 

Supervisor Cheryl Wruk made the motion for approval of the resolution and Supervisor George Kloppenburg seconded it.

"My opinion is that this would be a very good move," said Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison. "I work with the child support specialists all the time.

"There's a good crew there right now, everybody works hard. The nice thing is that if somebody is off, other workers can handle their cases. The finance part is a little separate, but obviously it ties in with the enforcement part."

She said crosstraining is really good idea and would ensure that "things keep flowing" in the child support office.

"The backup person resigned from the county and went somewhere else," Mattison said. "So we're sitting with a financial specialist who's very good with the job, but there's no backup right now.

"It seems like this the perfect time to move it (backup financial duties) to the (child support) specialists."