Swift County declines role in regional jail study
BENSON -- Swift County will not participate in a regional jail study. The Swift County Board decided Tuesday not to act on a resolution that would commit up to $5,000 in county funds to study the feasibility of a regional jail, county administrat...
BENSON -- Swift County will not participate in a regional jail study.
The Swift County Board decided Tuesday not to act on a resolution that would commit up to $5,000 in county funds to study the feasibility of a regional jail, county administrator John Chattin said.
Stevens County is looking to partner with at least one other county, preferably two or more, to study the feasibility of a regional jail in Morris. Big Stone, Pope, Grant and Traverse counties have also been asked to join in the study.
Swift County's jail task force did not recommend participation in the study, according to meeting minutes.
The County Board formed a jail task force earlier this year to study the jail's future needs. Jail activity has increased this year, forcing the county to transport prisoners to the Yellow Medicine County Jail in Granite Falls when the Swift County Jail is full.
Transporting and paying to house those inmates out of the county has cost the Sheriff's Department $8,000 to $11,000 more a month.
The County Board allocated $35,000 more to the jail room and board fund this summer and on Tuesday put another $25,000 toward that fund to cover those costs until the end of the year, Chattin said.
The jail room and board budget was $65,000 at the beginning of the year.
Also Tuesday, the board closed its meeting to discuss a personnel matter. When the meeting reopened, the board decided to retain legal counsel to assist the Sheriff's Department in a possible disciplinary matter, Chattin said. Chattin would not comment on which employee was discussed.
Also at the meeting, the board approved hiring the Swift County Attorney's Office legal secretary as the new full-time victim/witness coordinator. Denise Pedersen will start her new position Jan. 1.
The board also approved hiring a new legal secretary, Monica Stanley, who will work 0.8 of full-time. She also starts Jan. 1. The county added the victim-witness coordinator because it currently does not have one person designated for those duties. The county is required by law to notify victims of court dates and seek their input on plea agreements.
In other business, the board:
n Reviewed information provided by County Attorney Robin Finke about making the auditor, treasurer and recorder non-elected positions.
The County Board would have to adopt a resolution to start the process and then hold a referendum on it, Chattin said. The county can also seek special legislation, he said.
The board did not take any action on the information.
n Awarded a contract to Larson Allen Weishair & Co. of Brainerd for three years of auditing services. The county had received its audit from the state Auditor's Office until it requested permission to hire a private firm. The firm will charge $48,650 for the 2005 audit, $50,850 in 2006 and $52,900 in 2007.