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Search for jail administrator continues

Of the 14 applicants for the open jail administrator position at the Stutsman County Correctional Center, about seven are viable, the Stutsman County Commission learned Tuesday.

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“The intent is to interview five,” said Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer, noting the seven viable candidates had “very good experience.”

The county’s previous jail administrator, Tracey Trapp, resigned effective Jan. 1, and since then Darin Goter has served as interim jail administrator, during the search for Trapp’s replacement.

The 14 candidates are from all over the United States, including North Dakota, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Wyoming, Indiana, Colorado, Kansas and South Carolina, Bradley said.

The position would pay between $56,859 and $75,025, depending on education and experience level.

The committee involved in the hiring process includes Bradley, Commissioner Dave Schwartz and Sheriff Chad Kaiser, as well as Steve Engen, director of staff development and facility inspection with the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and James Nygaard, a member of the Law Enforcement Center’s governing board.

The commission voted to allow the committee to continue the hiring process and recommend a candidate for hiring, with the hope of making an offer next week.

In addition to a new administrator, the county will also add a sergeant position for the jail. The new sergeant will be responsible for administering jail programs, such as the electronic home monitoring program and the work release program.

“Right now, nobody is assigned to run the programs part of the jail,” Bradley said.

The additional staff member should alleviate some of the workload on the current sergeants, allowing them to remain on duty within the secured area of the jail as the facility’s staffing plan calls for, Bradley indicated.

“It’s the only solution we can come up with to alleviate the workload on the sergeants so they could be sergeants within the secured area,” Bradley said.

It will also allow the sergeants to utilize time off, which previously wasn’t possible due to the staffing shortage — resulting in their time off from 2013 being carried over to 2014 so that it could be used.

The additional position would add approximately 2,000 hours of work to the jail’s total work hours, which will still leave it about 2,000 hours less than the LEC board had authorized for staffing hours.

The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office was also authorized to add a position to its staff, even though it received substantially less grant money from the state than it hoped for. The deputy position would pay about $40,000 to $41,000.

Originally, the commission had authorized the addition of two deputies, contingent on the grant paying for 75 percent of the positions’ costs, Bradley said.

However, Stutsman County received $12,500 in grants, which will not be enough for a single position, and in fact will only pay for a little less than half of a vehicle for the new position.

“The guys are working extra time. They’re working overtime,” Kaiser said.

Some of them are turning down overtime hours with time-and-a-half pay because they’re tired, he said.

Though it was noted the additional position would put the Sheriff’s Office over its projected budget, the commission still voted to add a deputy anyway, partly in anticipation of growth resulting from planned development in the county.

“We’ve got some things that are happening today, out there at Spiritwood,” said County Commission Chairman Mark Klose.

Kaiser said he would try to get additional grants from the Department of Transportation to help defray costs of the additional position.

In other news Tuesday, the commission:

* discussed an increase in cost of about $200,000 for the five grade raises south of Cleveland, all five of which required more dirt fill than was anticipated. The projects still came in under budget, and 80 percent of the additional cost would be paid by the state of North Dakota, with the remainder paid by Stutsman County. The matter was tabled for further discussion, pending possible renegotiation of the fee.

* agreed to distribute about $30,000 in building permit fees from the Courtenay Wind Farm project to townships involved in the project. The county received about $63,500 in fees and its estimated administrative costs were about $33,500, and the commission voted to disburse the additional funds to the townships to offset their expenses.

* learned that the request to change the flood stages at the Pipestem Creek gauge near Pingree has been accepted by the National Weather Service. As of Feb. 10, major flood stage will be 15 feet, moderate will be 13 feet, minor will be 11 feet and action stage will be 10 feet — higher than previous values of 13, 11, 9 and 8 feet respectively.

* reappointed Commissioner Dale Marks to the James River Valley Library System Library Board. Marks currently serves as the Library Board’s chairman.

* approved a list of qualifications builders will have to meet in order to make bids for the Great River Energy and CHS roadway project.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at