Jail personnel issues heard

by April Scheinoha

Personnel matters were the main topic at the Pennington County Board meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12. Most of the personnel matters pertained to staffing at the Pennington County Jail.
In separate motions, commissioners approved posting for four corrections officer positions – two part-time positions and two full-time positions.

The commissioners also approved filling a vacancy created by the recent resignation of part-time corrections officer Kelly Thygeson. The Law Enforcement Committee planned to interview for Thygeson’s former position on the same day they interviewed for a fourth vacant part-time corrections officer position.

Sheriff Ray Kuznia said the Minnesota Department of Corrections requires the jail to employ 15.5 full-time equivalent corrections officers. Approving these motions, he said, would ensure the jail had the required number of FTE corrections officers.

Since the jail currently doesn’t have the required FTE, the DOC requires the county to transport inmates elsewhere if there are more than 40 inmates at the Pennington County Jail. Kuznia said the jail was housing 43 inmates at the time of the County Board meeting.

Commissioners approved hiring David Casanova as the Prison Rape Elimination Act/transition coordinator. He succeeds Betty Coauette.

County Board approved paying Maintenance Foreman Terry Peterson a salary of $72,488, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019. He was previously paid $65,956.80, according to County Auditor/Treasurer Ken Olson. County Engineer Mike Flaagan noted that this salary is in line with similar positions in other counties, where the position is paid overtime if required.

Commissioners accepted the resignation of Dale Stauffenecker, office manager at the University of Minnesota Extension office in Thief River Falls. Stauffenecker’s resignation was effective Friday, Feb. 15. In a separate, related motion, commissioners approved posting and hiring for the position.


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