By Tammy Gray
Navajo County Workforce Investment Act (WIA) will now be partnered with Gila County under an agreement approved by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
WIA provides job training and assistance, and works with businesses to help residents find employment.
The county is already partnered with Apache County, so the three counties will now come together to operate the program. Director Susan Tegmeyer noted that the partnership will allow the counties to share administrative expenses and best practices.
She also told the board that the state is working toward consolidating WIA programs by combining multiple counties, and she believes it is in Navajo County’s best interest to choose a partner before being forced into it by the state.
“It is far better for counties to decide who they want to merge with,” she said. “It is far better than being absorbed by a larger county.”
Tegmeyer explained that Gila County is similar in size and demographics, which should help make the partnership successful. She told the board that she has already been in close contact with Gila County WIA officials and both programs are already headed in the same direction.
According to Tegmeyer, there will be no cost to the county to create the partnership. The state has provided $50,000 to assist with the merger.
“We’re working on a budget to make sure that is enough to make this happen,” she said.
Board members unanimously approved the merger, noting that it will be beneficial to all three counties to combine services and efforts.
In other action Oct. 29, the board:
* Approved the scheduling of two public hearings on Monday, Nov. 3, regarding Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. One hearing will be held in Show Low, and the other at 6 p.m. at the Navajo County complex in Holbrook.
* Approved professional services contracts with Gaylee Carroll and April Pohlman for fluoride treatments as part of the First Things First program.
* Approved the lease of space in the public health district offices in Snowflake for the Woman, Infant and Children (WIC) program at a rate of $1,290 per month.
The next regular board meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, at the county complex in Holbrook.