Conservation department hires new assistant naturalist
By Bryce Kelly, Mt. Pleasant News
Head Henry County Naturalist, Cari Nicely, will soon have much-needed help thanks to a recent hiring by the Henry County Conservation Department.
According to Henry County Conservation Director, John Pullis, the department has officially hired an assistant naturalist to help Nicely in her various duties. At this time, the new hire’s name is not being released to the public.
“Out of 22 applicants for the position, three were interviewed,” said Pullis, as he relayed the new information to Henry County Conservation Board members on Monday night during their regular monthly meeting. “The three we interviewed were all great candidates, but she really stood out.”
According to Pullis, the new hire is from the Spencer area. Her and her husband are hoping to move to Henry County by early March.
As of Monday night, an official start date for the new employee has not been announced.
Moving on to other matters in what was a rather short meeting agenda, the board reviewed the final 2017-2018 budget. According to Pullis, after a recent meeting the Henry County Board of Supervisors on two areas of concern with the department’s proposed budget structure, the supervisors seem to be in agreement to side in favor of the conservation board.
According to claims made earlier by the conservation board, a recently proposed budget restructure by the supervisors would eliminate the Henry County Conservation Department’s ability to track how all revenue associated with the department’s cabins, campgrounds and shelter houses are used by putting revenue made from the cabins, campgrounds and shelter houses into a general fund. Similarly, Pullis also claimed the proposed restructure would eliminate the Henry County Conservation Department’s ability to control how funds donated to the department by private persons for use within the department are used by also putting that money into a general fund.
“After talking with the county auditor and the supervisors, they decided to do it our way for the fiscal year,” said Pullis, saying the board was not going to go forward with the budget restructure. “However, we have been asked to really track our budget in much greater detail, which we are in agreement with.”
Going forward, Pullis said he has developed a more fine-tuned system to more closely track and itemize the conservation budget.
Before ending the meeting, Pullis and Nicely walked the board through the MyCountyParks.com website, which is where interested parties may make online reservations for county conservation cabins, shelter houses, campsites and so on. The website also features information on upcoming Henry County Conservation Department activities, as well as full-color photos of the county parks.
According to both Pullis and Nicely, the recent addition of online reservations has been a good one for the department.
The Henry County Conservation Department will meet again on March 13 at 6 p.m., in the Henry County Conservation Board Room.