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Davison Co. planning/zoning administrator to take on emergency duties

Davison County Planning and Zoning Administrator Jeff Bathke’s workload is about to get bigger.

After a 57-minute executive session Tuesday afternoon at the courthouse, Davison County commissioners appointed Jeff Bathke to take over as emergency management director in addition to his planning and zoning duties.

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Jeff Bathke  Bathke will start his dual role Oct. 19, the day following the retirement of current Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery. The two jobs are currently both full-time positions.

“It’s just a good thing for the county when you get an opportunity to merge something and save the county some money,” Bathke said.

Bathke, a Plankinton native, will get paid $55,000 for his new role, which will ultimately save the county a total $33,217 for consolidating the jobs. As the planning and zoning administrator Bathke is paid $46,758, while Montgomery is paid $41,459 as the emergency management director, currently totaling $88,217 between the two.

As a planning and zoning administrator, Bathke’s main job duty is to promote residential development in an orderly fashion and to conserve agricultural land. The mission of emergency management is to protect lives, property and environment through direction of government from damages sustained by emergency or disaster events.

Commissioner John Claggett said the commissioners discussed during the executive, closed-door session whether Bathke would be able to perform both job duties at the same time. Claggett added they also discussed, but didn’t finalize, how staffing both departments could change.

“It’s a new adventure in how we’re going to do business,” Claggett said. “We’re tickled pink and now it’s just a matter of figuring out how we’re going to get it done.

“We also wanted Jeff to have a little time with Jim to compare notes and learn the job entailments.”

Commissioner Randy Reider said Bathke has demonstrated strong organizational skills, which was one of the reasons the commissioners felt he could perform both jobs at the same time. Bathke took over as planning and zoning administrator in April.

“He brings a high level of talent and service to the Davison County people, so we’re excited to use his management abilities,” Reider said.

Bathke acknowledges it will be a heavier work load, especially since he’ll be on-call at all times of the day as the emergency management director.

“It’s a 24-7 job, and that will be a little different,” Bathke said.

Montgomery is retiring with seven years as the emergency management director. He started his position with the county on Oct. 19, 2006.

“I’ll do a little bit of fishing, a little bit of golf and I need to work on the house,” Montgomery said. “I want to sleep in until 7 o’clock some time.”

Other business

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Approved minutes from the Sept. 24 meeting
  • Expressed their sorrow to the family of Chet McManus, formerly of Fulton and a former Hanson County commissioner, who died Saturday at 82, during a citizens’ input session.
  • Approved the purchase of 30,000 tons of three-quarter crushed gravel at $3.97 per ton from Dixie Veurink Trucking, of Mitchell, for planned and anticipated road projects.
  • Signed state and local agreement and equipment transfer agreements and turned them into Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery.
  • Set a time and date of 10 a.m. Oct. 25 to auction a piece of property south of the Public Safety Center.
  • Produced a letter of support to encourage the governor’s office to secure federal funding in lieu of property taxes on Indian trust lands, supporting a request from a Bennett County commissioner that originated at a recent meeting in Spearfish.