A lengthy discussion on the need for making the Victim Services Coordinator position full time for Stevens County was a large part of this week’s meeting of the Stevens County Board of Commissioners. The position, held by Susie Hanson, is currently 28 hours per week and is totally paid for by a grant, monies of which come largely from federal fines of victim crimes. County Attorney Aaron Jordan sought to add 7 hours a week to Hanson’s position, making it full time.
Hanson said she works with somewhere between 100 and 200 victims annually, providing more person-to-person contact with crime victims than what the County offered before securing the grant that pays for her position.
Commissioner Donny Wohlers was concerned, however, that the Attorney’s office would become too attached to having a person do the work that was once done by their staff.
Wohlers noted that if the County paid for the position outright, it would amount to an increase of 1 percent on the tax levy, at a time when residents are already taxed for improvement to the school, garages and water treatment plants. He sought assurances that if the grant went away, the Attorney’s office would handle the duties as they had in the past.
Attorney Jordan would not promise to never ask for money for such services if the grant were to go away, but he countered that Hanson’s position does a lot of good for people and noted that 80 percent of County Attorney offices statewide have such a position.
In the end, the Commissioners approved making Hanson’s position full time, with the stipulation that the position will be readdressed when the grant funding is gone. The next two years of the grant is non-competitive, meaning that Hanson’s position will be funded with no County dollars for two more years after the current grant cycle ends.