Jefferson supervisors discuss adding bailiff

FAIRFIELD — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors has set the public hearing for its budget for 8:45 a.m. March 8.

Supervisor Dee Sandquist said the county is working to stay within the 2 percent allowable growth required by the state, but noted it is a challenging task. She said that the county’s property insurance premiums rose about 15 percent in response to the windstorms that ravaged the state in 2020.

At Monday’s supervisor meeting, the board discussed an idea that came out of the courthouse security committee where the county would hire a person to perform a variety of part-time duties, chief among them serving as a courtroom bailiff. Supervisor Daryn Hamilton said it might be beneficial to have an armed bailiff present at courtroom proceedings, about three times per week. But since those hours would not be enough for a separate position, Hamilton said they could be given other tasks, such as enforcing nuisances and acting as county weed commissioner. He estimated their time would be spent 60 percent on courtroom duties, 35 percent on nuisances and 5 percent on weeds.

Jefferson County Sheriff Bart Richmond said he could have one of his deputies perform the duties of a bailiff by being present for courtroom proceedings. Hamilton said that, in light of the most recent discussions, he now thinks it’s unlikely the county would create a separate position for a bailiff.

Sandquist gave an update on her mental health committee. She said there has been no action from the Iowa Legislature on funding services. She said that one of the items that came up during the meeting is that the number for mobile crisis services is not widely known.

Mobile crisis counselors can be dispatched 24/7/365 by calling 833-854-7613. A team of two counselors will arrive on the scene within 60 minutes. Anyone can call Community Mobile Crisis to have a counselor dispatched. The service is commonly used by teachers and guidance counselors, police officers, social workers and people concerned about a family member or friend.