LAGRANGE — Longtime Lakeland Human Resources Director Jenny Landez was named as LaGrange County’s new HR director Monday morning at the end of the LaGrange County Commissioner’s meeting. Landez will assume that position on Jan. 3.

Landez is a well-known name in the community. She is a 24-year veteran of Lakeland School District and spent the last 12 years of her career working in the administration building serving the corporation in a variety of roles, including her current job as the school district’s human resources director.

Landez said Monday after LaGrange County Commissioner Kevin Myers announced the county had hired her to file its open HR position, that she just felt the time was right for a change.

“It’s time to branch out, it’s time to try something new. I’m looking forward to just being a parent at Lakeland, I still have children who go there, so it will be nice to just be a parent and a fan, versus always wearing my HR hat,” she said. “A good opportunity came along, and I just seemed to be the right fit.”

Myers said the county had a good pool of candidates to choose from and narrowed that pool down to four final candidates.

Landez will wind down her career at Lakeland on the first of January and start her new position with the county on Jan.3.

“I hope that all of the department leaders know that I am here as an ally for them, and to help them,” she said. “HR can be sometimes fairly negative, so I’m hoping they’ll see me as an asset. I can help them with evaluations and improvements in their departments.

Landez herself is a graduate of Lakeland and said she still had children enrolled n Lakeland schools.

“It was a tough decision to leave, but I’ll always be a Laker,” she added.

In other matters, the commissioners approved an IT department request to spend nearly $130,000 to replace and update the audio-visual systems in both county courtrooms.

Dave Warren, director of information technology for the county said changes made in court protocol due to the coronavirus pandemic now allow for more court interactions to take place online. Portions of the equipment now in use as part of both courts’ audio/visual systems are creating problems.

The commissioners opted to pay for the new equipment using money the county received from the state as part of the American Rescue Plan. Indiana received those funds from the federal government.

The commissioners also approved a request to have the elevator in the LaGrange County Office Building repaired and updated. The building’s elevator was installed in 1984 and parts to repair the machine are getting difficult to find, said Gary Mast, the county’s maintenance supervisor.

Mast told the commissioners the elevators in both the office building and the courthouse need to be updated.

Mast received three bids and asked the commissioner to award the contract to American Elevator which had the lower bid, just over $87,000. It will be eight to ten weeks before the work can begin, and should take several weeks to complete. The money to make those repairs will be taken from the ARP money the county received from the state.

The commissioners also approved a deal to mutually terminate an agreement with the City of Sturgis, Michigan to provide wastewater services to the county’s Fawn River Industrial Park. Wastewater from that park has been piped to a wastewater plant on the south side of Sturgis. That wastewater will be piped to a LaGrange County Regional Utilities District wastewater treatment plant operating less than a mile south of the industrial park. That plant was recently constructed and put online.

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