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Something smells fishy


Fri, Apr 6th, 2001
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Monday, April 2, 2001

A lot of people have been asking me why the county is dumping the county engineer, Steve Voigt. "What has he done wrong?" they ask, implying that there is some smoking gun somewhere that would point to malfeasance or insubordination or some such offense that gets employees fired today in these here United States.

While I have yet to hear of any smoking gun, most people I have talked to seem to think there is something fishy with the way the county board has handled this.
The first sign that the public had that something was awry came on February 20 when the county board decided to advertise to hire a county engineer. This sent a pretty clear message to the incumbent engineer that he had better starting cleaning his desk.

The motion was made by Commissioner Duane Bakke and seconded by Marc Prestby and approved unanimously. What was unusual about the motion was the fact that there was no discussion on the matter. Considering the fact that the county board canít purchase a roll of toilet paper without a debate of some sort, the silence on this issue speaks volumes. It was obvious that the commissioners had been talking to each other out of school. While this is not necessarily a violation of the open meeting law, (more than two commissioners meeting at one time requires an open meeting with prior public notification), it does indicate that there were at least a lot of mini-summits going on behind the scenes.

At the time of the motion, Prestby, as well as Commissioner Randall Dahl, had been on the job as commissioners a little over one month, and while this might be enough time to get oneís butt settled into a chair, itís probably not enough time on the job to begin evaluating employee performance with any degree of accuracy. Given the two new commissionersí skittishness in voting on a range of issues over the first month, the certainty in which the two voted to advertise to hire a new county engineer can only be described as remarkable.

At the March 13 county board meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to terminate the county engineer. Because Voigt is still on a probationary contract the board did not need to show cause. A higher standard would have required that they document the reasons for termination and show, in measurable ways, how the employee failed to meet the terms of their employment. One can only assume that over the past year the county board, or the Highway Committee, or .....
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Vernon H. Vigeland

Fri, Apr 6th, 2001
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Vernon H. Vigeland, 77, of LaCrosse, Wis., formerly of Mabel, Minn. died March 12, 2001 at the Green Lea Manor Nursing Home in Mabel where he had resided for only a week.

Vernon was born September 5, 1923 in Preble Township, Fillmore County, M ..... 
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Gladys Judith Swain

Fri, Apr 6th, 2001
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Gladys Judith Swain, 93, of Rushford, a homemaker, died March 7, 2001 at her home.

Gladys Judith Williams was born May 15, 1907, on the Humble farm at Highland Prairie, moved to North Dakota with her family when she was 3 months old and retu ..... 
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Beverly M. Smith

Fri, Apr 6th, 2001
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Beverly M. Smith, 74, of rural Spring Valley, a homemaker, died March 12, 2001 at Spring Valley Care Center, where she had been a patient a short time.

Beverly Maxine Eich was born Jan. 20, 1927, near Ostrander to Frank and Della (Allen) Eic ..... 
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