• Last modified 1270 days ago (Jan. 28, 2021)


Sheriff blames combative commission

Staff writer

Before talking to county commissioners about a $114,800 bill for installation of new security cameras in the jail, sheriff Rob Craft read an unhappy prepared statement explaining why he doesn’t like to attend weekly meetings.

“Before I begin I’m going to preface this with an apology to some of the newer commissioners,” Craft said. “Why did I choose to limit my participation in the county commission meetings? In the past several years, the commission meetings have all become unprofessional and confrontational of those in attendance and those not in attendance.”

Craft said improper accusations of wrongdoing have been made during meetings, and said that improper accusations have been made to department heads.

He said this has affected the public’s perception of the commission.

He said he is frequently asked about the commission by officials in other communities in the state “in a not-so-flattering manner.”

“Often it includes jokes about what has taken place in our commission meetings,” Craft said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said two weeks ago, when Craft didn’t appear to present a scheduled quarterly update on the department, that he didn’t like it when department heads skipped the meeting.

Craft had told Spencer that week the reason he declined to attend is because he didn’t have anything to say.

Craft said the new jail surveillance system is not related to the Dec. 5 suicide of inmate Julie Starks.

Craft presented county commissioners with a $114,800 bill for the new cameras at Monday’s meeting.

The money already was budgeted for 2020, Craft said. He asked commissioners to encumber the money.

Craft also provided a request to encumber an additional $13,000 for the work from 2021 funds.

“We do have the budget funds to cover that, but we need the actual approval of the encumbrance,” county clerk Tina Spencer told commissioners.

Commissioner Kent Becker asked for a copy of Craft’s statement, but did not receive it.

Spencer told Craft his statement is public because it was read in a public meeting, but Craft still did not provide it.

Last modified Jan. 28, 2021