Walworth County Commissioners Tuesday, April 16, voted to appoint a temporary position at the county landfill and voted down an effort by Walworth County Sheriff Josh Boll to re-open the jail to federal prisoners and re-open conversation concerning building a regional jail.
According to Walworth County State’s Attorney Jamie Hare, the commissioners voted to appoint current county auditor Rebecca Krein to take over the duties at the Walworth County Landfill until the commission decides what they will do to fill the position left open when landfill supervisor Ryan Badten left in late March. It was Badten’s recommendation to the commission that Krein be appointed to the supervisor and county assistant positions he was vacating. The commission instead approved advertising to fill that position.
The commission voted Tuesday to appoint Krein temporarily in order for the landfill to continue operations. Hare said there is a lot of work required by the state of South Dakota concerning the operation of the landfill and Krein would be asked to keep the paper work up to date and to take care of the financial side of the landfill.
The commission will now have more time to consider how they plan to fill those empty positions.
Hare said the commission had received one or two applications for that position.
The commission also accepted the resignation of Blake Friend as the county highway supervisor, effective Friday, April 26. The commission approved advertising for applications for that position.
There were also several issues requested by Boll to be placed on the meeting agenda concerning the jail.
After years of discussion and a vote of the taxpayers in the county in 2018, the commission made several moves concerning the jail. They voted to no longer house federal and BIA prisoners and to use the current facility for Walworth County prisoners only.
In November 2018 taxpayers defeated a bond issue that would have funded a new regional jail facility, with 69 percent of voters casting ballots against the $10.5 million bond issue, with 31 percent of voter favoring the issue.
Boll asked the commission on Tuesday to rescind the motion on federal prisoners as the county needs the revenue generated by housing those prisoners to take the burden off of the taxpayers. According to Hare, after a discussion on that issue, that “went off the rails several times,” the commission voted three to two to oppose the motion. Commissioners Marion Schlomer, Kevin Holgard and Scott Schilling voting against the motion and Commissioners Jim Houck and Davis Martin voting in favor of the motion.
Boll then asked the commission to allow him to bring back the holding of federal prisoners as a way to generate needed revenue. The commission voted against that request, again with the same three to two vote.
Hare said the discussion on re-opening the regional jail concept never really materialized after the votes on the federal prisoner issues.
Boll also asked the commission for a full-time secretary for the sheriff’s office. He requested the current part-time position be switched to a full-time position, citing more paperwork, bookkeeping and record keeping needs in that office.
Again, the commissioners voted down that request by the same three to two votes.
Hare said the commission also opened a discussion on creating a county administrator that would fill several open positions and have hiring and firing authority in the county offices. Hare said the commission took no action on the issue.
– Katie Zerr –