County to hire its own family living educator

State had reduced UW-Extension post, changed duties

A state-contracted UW-Extension position that had been downsized by the state will instead become a full-time Shawano County employee after a vote by a county committee.

Shawano County Administrative Coordinator Brent Miller said officials were rankled not just by the time reduction for the family living educator post, but also by changes made to the educator’s duties.

“The state wants to go with a generic format for every county,” Miller said, meaning that the family living educator would be approaching the job and community education efforts in the same manner as others in that post across the state rather than specifically addressing the needs of Shawano County residents.

“The state’s saying they know better than we do what we need in Shawano County,” Miller said. “We can meet the needs of our constituents better than they can.”

The Shawano County Agriculture and Extension Committee decided on Jan. 9 to make the family living educator a county-funded position.

The job, which the state cut to a half-time position last year, is currently vacant.

Miller said the committee’s goal is to advertise for the new, full-time county position by early spring.

In the meantime, Kara Skarlupka of the UW-Extension support staff, will be coordinating associated education programming needs, including in the areas of health, nutrition and youth development.

Miller said it was uncertain at this point what the salary will be for the new family living educator. The county will get a determination from the consulting firm that oversaw the county’s wage study several years ago.