Remember this come November

Jerome Gruenberg

Burlington

I’ll start by saying deputy Tim Poston is my son-in-law. He moved here from Canada and wanted to go into law enforcement. He went to work for the Ward County Sheriff’s Department and attended academy training in Bismarck. While there Poston was wrongly accused of being involved in a discrimination incident at the academy. After an investigation it was determined Poston was not involved but was a suspect because he knew the people who were involved as they were in the same academy class. Even though there were no legal issues the (appointed) Ward County Sheriff was overheard stating he would put a letter of reprimand in Poston’s file to “make an example of him”. That started the trouble between the (appointed) Sheriff and Deputy Poston. Deputy Poston asked that the letter be removed from his file since it had no basis. The (appointed) Sheriff refused and the rest is a series of administrative and personnel mistakes and violations of Federal Labor and Discrimination laws, as well as violations of the North Dakota Century Code, Ward County Charter, and Ward County Policy Manual by the (appointed) Sheriff.

In the last election the voters in the City of Minot decided it was time to put an end to the ” good-old-boy regime” and voted most of them out. I am a former County Commissioner and in my opinion our (appointed) Sheriff is a charter member of that same “good-old-boy” establishment.

While trying to bring some of the personnel issues to light before the board Poston was denied the opportunity to speak at least three times. The county board would adjourn while Poston was speaking and get up and leave the room. One commissioner even laughed out loud during one of Deputy Poston’s efforts to speak to the board. To quote a recent commercial “- hey chuckles”” you better stick to fixing cars”.

At one Commission meeting Deputy Poston stated that he feared retaliation from the (appointed) Sheriff. Said Sheriff stood before the board and stated “Oh no, I would never retaliate”. If you read Thursday mornings’ paper you will see that the (appointed) Sheriff has now fired Deputy Poston without a “hearing” and without due process. He didn’t even have the backbone to tell Deputy Poston directly but instead leaked the termination to the press so it would be announced publicly.

Another grievance filed by Deputy Poston indicated the states attorney grabbed Deputy Poston’s leg during testimony. The personnel committee and their advisor stated there was no wrong doing here and the commissioners agreed no action was needed against the States Attorney or the Sheriff for not following up. Let’s just imagine what would have happened if Deputy Poston had grabbed the States Attorney’ leg. How many seconds would it take for her to file charges and the Sheriff to fire him. Or what if it had been one of the commissioner’s wives or daughters. That would have been a major issue then.

Since all this started, Deputy Poston has brought forth other grievances from other Ward County employees who were reluctant to say anything because of fear of retaliation from their supervisors. The (appointed) Sheriff and other Ward County Department Directors have blocked Deputy Poston’s efforts to bring relief to several employees. Once again the Personnel Committee has swept this under the rug and done nothing to fix the problems. Commissioners, the pile under the rug is starting to stink.

So far John Fjeldahl is the only commissioner to say, ” these are in fact, our problems and we need to deal with them”. KUDOS John. Again no action from the Commissioners. Four to one vote to leave the pile under the rug.

Remember the County Commissioners have broken several county, state and federal rules in dealing with the employees’ concerns, which could ultimately cost Ward County thousands of dollars to remedy.

I sincerely hope you voters remember this debacle in November.

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