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Commissioners praise Bradley’s work for the county

Casey Bradley

Two Stutsman County commissioners said it will be tough finding a replacement for Casey Bradley, the county auditor/chief operating officer who resigned Thursday.

Bradley sent a letter of resignation to the five members of the Stutsman County Commission Thursday. He wrote his last day will be Aug. 4 and that he would assist the county in any way he can to ensure a smooth transition to a new auditor/chief operating officer.

Bradley said Thursday that he had accepted a new job, but did not want to comment further about the job.

County Commission Chairman Mark Klose said Friday he will talk with Bradley and Nicole Meland, the county deputy auditor/recorder, about how the County Commission will proceed in replacing Bradley.

“I’ve asked Casey to put some thoughts together,” Klose said, “places where he might want to take into account when we replace that individual (county auditor/chief operating officer), any changes in our structure.”

Klose said he thinks the transition from Bradley to his replacement will be a smooth one.

“Casey is leaving on good terms with the board,” he said. “I know he has some frustrations with some of the things that went on here.”

The most recent example of “some of the things that went on here” was Bradley being the subject of a complaint alleging that he created a hostile work environment after a county employee resigned in December. The matter was dropped by the County Commission in April after an investigation by Mercer County Sheriff Dean Danzeisen determined that since no facts to support the claim were ever submitted by the former county employee, no complaint had been filed.

Klose said the county has a strong organization and Bradley is leaving the county in a good financial position as well.

County Commissioner David Schwartz said Friday it was unfortunate that Bradley was leaving as he had done a lot of good things for the county.

“We (the County Commission) will need to get together and decide how we’re going to proceed  in hiring a replacement,” he said.

Bradley wrote in his resignation letter that he was proud of all that has been accomplished by the county staff and himself since he became county auditor/chief operating officer in August 2011. He wrote about how changes made to the county’s federal disaster projects “yielded over $6 million in cost savings.”

Bradley said Friday that in 2012 the county had 18 federal emergency response projects from damage caused in Stutsman County from flooding in 2009 and 2011. He said the total cost for the 18 projects was $18 million, with the county responsible for $3.6 million.

“We had issues with the way some of the projects were designed,” he said. “The information we got at the time was we had to do the projects as presented.”

Bradley said he and county staff were able to get officials from the North Dakota and federal transportation agencies to come to the county and tour the project sites. The officials then allowed county recommended changes to be made to the projects.

While working with the county staff and County Commission has been a positive experience for Bradley, he said in his letter that he and his family were subjected to “countless malicious attacks personally and professionally.”

“My family was forced to stop camping in the local campgrounds because every time we were there it would turn into non-stop complaints,” he wrote.

Bradley wrote in his letter of an instance where his wife, who was performing her duties as a state employee, was “verbally assaulted” by an insurance agent who was upset that a friend of his who had worked for the county had been let go. Bradley said Friday the insurance agent, who he did not identify, was from Wimbledon, and the man was also upset about the condition of a township road near the man’s home and work on wind towers that was taking place at the time.

Bradley wrote in his letter the attacks included posts on social media aimed at him and sometimes his children.

“I have numerous flat out lies written on social media by people whom I’ve never met and who clearly have no care for the truth or decency,” he wrote.

The County Commission’s next scheduled meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 18 at the Stutsman County Courthouse.