Running for the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors, District 5 seat, is not something I take lightly nor is it something I have not previously considered.
My work history has provided a broad range of experiences working cooperatively with local, state and federal agencies. For the past 35 years I have worked directly for cities and counties through the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPO) and Woodbury County. During that time period, I have been successful in acquiring over $10,000,000 in state and federal funds for a variety of community development projects, ranging from paving streets and upgrading community water and wastewater treatment facilities to historic preservation for the courthouse and Interoperability of communication systems for law enforcement and first responders.
To accomplish the creation of the first mental health court in the state, a working group of persons willing to consider and approve operations had to be identified. The group included the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux City Police Department, Woodbury County Attorneys Office, Siouxland Mental Health Center Executive Director, Woodbury County Jail Administrator, Woodbury County Board of Supervisors, a district judge and two members of the public. The group traveled to view and speak to their counterparts in existing courts. They returned with the resolve to create and implement a mental health court that met local needs. The Woodbury County Mental Health Court (Project Compass) has been recognized nationally and continues to reduce the number of jail bed days for persons with mental illness.
To address the disastrous impact of communication failures on 9/11, the federal government provided a limited amount of funds for local law enforcement and first responders to design systems to accomplish interoperability of communications. The Sioux City Police Chief and Woodbury County Sheriff led the organizational meetings of law enforcement agencies and first responders in the tri-state area to submit an application. The grant application represented a seamless system design, including tower expansion and enhancement, radio/equipment acquisition and mobile command capabilities. I prepared and submitted the grant request. Woodbury County was awarded one of 17 grants in the nation and received $5.9 million.
As social services coordinator, my office provided planning and program development of services for Developmentally Disabled and persons with severe and persistent mental illness. Our budget ranged from $3-12,000,000 annually and demanded careful management to comply with federal and state mandates while assuring continuity in services. Woodbury County was successful in building one of the best disabilities service delivery systems in the state.
The opportunities I have been provided while working at Woodbury County have prepared me for the next step of becoming a member of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors. I know the value of building relationships that acknowledge the functions of varying City and County Departments that can sometimes seem to be at odds with each other. We can and must continue to work together.
Having grown up on the west side of Sioux City and now living on a farm in rural Woodbury County, I am aware of the diversity of Woodbury County. From the gravel roads to the County Conservation parks to the malls in Sioux City, Woodbury County residents deserve the best in leadership and representation.
Today, I am concerned about the lack of experience, integrity and honesty being displayed by some members of the board. Claiming “transparency” does not assure honesty and “small mistakes” that erode the core of political offices are unacceptable.
A board member needs to show leadership not follow the desires of others. A Board member needs to gather as much information as possible on issues and make their own informed decision. A Board member needs to represent all persons.
I can and will assure the public honesty, integrity and common sense.
Patty Erickson-Puttmann is the Democratic nominee for the District 5 seat on the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors in the Nov. 3 general election.
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