St. Croix County

HUDSON — The St. Croix County board met on Tuesday, June 1. Here’s what to know from the regular monthly meeting:

Health and human services annual report

2020 was an eventful year for the county’s Health and Human Services Department, Director Bob Rohret told the board in his annual report, with the pandemic as well as leadership changes.

Public health was on the forefront this past year, with its pandemic response. The county’s department was rated first in the state in terms of health outcomes in 2020, Rohret said.

“Not only has this small division responded I think remarkably in a pandemic environment where the science and the situation changes or has changed almost daily, but they also carried on all of the other public health responsibilities that go along with a division like this,” Rohret said. 

Other areas of the department were overshadowed by the pandemic in 2020. 

Staff in those areas had creative and staff-driven responses to the pandemic, Rohret said, adapting to ensure they could continue delivering services in different ways. 

The Aging and Disability Resource Center was significantly impacted. The senior centers it runs switches from congregate meals to mainly home-delivered meals. The center went from 22,7000 congregate, in-person meals in 2019 to 5,517 in 2020. Home-delivered meals went up to 34,722 in 2020 from 20,052 in 2019. 

The county’s healthcare campus was a stressful environment, Rohret said, and those it served were among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The center saw a few minor outbreaks, but no deaths, he said. 

Children services continued to meet with people in person as needed, but worked remotely wherever possible. 

Children’s services and behavioral health both faced challenges with limited capacity and no new placements being accepted at partner facilities. 

 

New Justice Services Director

The board approved the hiring of Susan Capparelli as the Justice Services Director. 

The position was left vacant following Michael O’Keefe’s retirement this month. The position was realigned and will now be a department head position, Administrator Ken Witt said. 

Capparelli comes high-qualified, and is already trained in COMPAS, a key system in the role, Witt said. 

“I think we’re very fortunate to have somebody with her skill set joining our team,” he said. 

The approval was unanimous from the board. 

Capparelli will start June 21. 

Library committee amended

The county board approved an amendment of the rules and bylaws for the county library planning committee. 

County board and community representatives will serve 2-year terms that now start in May, to be consistent with the election of supervisors. 

The librarian representatives will serve three year rotating terms. Supervisor Judy Achterhof requested this amendment, as the county has seen a lot of turnover in library directors. The three year rotating terms ensures continuity and that the committee doesn’t have all new library representatives who aren’t familiar with the process and history. 

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