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Commission accepts investigation report into allegations against Bradley

No complaint was ever officially filed against Stutsman County Auditor/ Chief Operating Officer Casey Bradley, according to an investigation conducted by Mercer County Sheriff Dean Danzeisen.

No complaint was ever officially filed against Stutsman County Auditor/ Chief Operating Officer Casey Bradley, according to an investigation conducted by Mercer County Sheriff Dean Danzeisen.

The Stutsman County Commission unanimously accepted Danzeisen’s report and took no further action.

Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser asked Danzeisen to conduct an investigation into allegations that Bradley had created a hostile work environment made by a former county employee who resigned in December 2016.

In his three-page report, Danzeisen said Kaiser gave him a box sealed with tape containing files the county received from the Village Business Institute, which is part of Family Village Service Center in Fargo, the organization that conducted the initial investigation into the allegations against Bradley. The Stutsman County Commission approved a request from Stutsman County State’s Attorney Fritz Fremgen in January to hire the Village Business Institute to conduct the investigation after he said he received a complaint from the former county employee.

In February, the County Commission reversed that decision after a review of the county’s personnel policy showed the county sheriff should be investigating violations of the policy. The county sheriff has the discretion to bring in an outside investigator if he or she chooses.

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After looking through the contents of the box Danzeisen didn’t find any complaint formally filed by the former county employee against Bradley, according to the report.

Bradley said after the meeting that he was glad the truth came out in Danzeisen’s report.

“There was never any valid complaint,” he said.

Fremgen said Monday evening that he couldn’t comment on the matter due to a county policy that prevents county officials from commenting on certain matters. He did say the former county employee had sent an email to County Commission members about the allegations against Bradley.

In his report, Danzeisen said he reviewed the statement that the former employee gave to the Village Business Institute. He said the employee’s statement does not supply any specific complaint.

“She (the former employee) states that Mr. Bradley asked her into his office regarding an allegation that she was spreading rumors about Mr. Bradley and another county employee,” Danzeisen said. “She (the former employee) states that he was yelling and raising his voice and calling her a liar.”

Danzeisen said he interviewed six county employees, including Bradley, County Commission Chairman Mark Klose and the former county employee. Five of the six county employees Danzeisen interviewed work in close proximity of Bradley’s office. The report states none of the employees remembered hearing any raised voices during the meeting between Bradley and the former employee.

Klose asked Danzeisen, based on his report, if the County Commission followed the county’s personnel policy correctly.

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Danzeisen initially said no, as the investigation was turned over to the Village Business Institute. Once the commission canceled the contract with the Village Business Institute and returned the investigation back to Kaiser, it was following the county’s policy.

Klose said his main concern was making sure the county’s policies and procedures were followed.

“We take these situations seriously,” he said. “We want them done right.”

colson@jamestownsun.com | (701) 952-8454

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