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County Commissioners Table Decision To Hire Paralegal

Roosevelt County commissioners unanimously agreed to table a decision regarding hiring Erika Fyfe as a paralegal for the county attorney’s office during their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

County attorney Janet Christoffersen recommended Fyfe for the paralegal position with a pay of 85 percent of the clerk and recorder’s salary. Fyfe resigned as the county legal assistant in August. A replacement hasn’t been hired for that position.

“You don’t create a new position in the middle of a budget cycle,” Commissioner Gary Macdonald said.

Christoffersen, talking on Zoom during the meeting, noted that Fyfe could come in and hit the ground running to assist the county attorney’s office.

“We need someone right now to help with drafting,” Christoffersen said.

Macdonald said that if Christoffersen felt that strongly about the position, she should be seated in the commissioners’ office instead of video conferencing.

Commissioner Robert Toavs said Fyfe was previously paid based on the clerk and recorder’s salary, prior to him taking office. He doesn’t feel Fyfe’s position should have that exception.

Christoffersen said the title of the position isn’t important, but she feels paralegal is a more accurate description than secretary. She noted she was told that the position could be paid at 85 percent of the clerk and recorder’s office.

“I feel it’s a personal attack on me,” Christoffersen, who won a preliminary injunction case against the county to remain county attorney, told commissioners.

She described the commissioners’ decision to table hiring Fyfe as “silly” and says residents will be hurt without the additional support in the county attorney’s office.

“If you were so concerned with that, you would be here as county attorney right now,” Toavs said of serving area residents.

Christoffersen, who has been working remotely, said she would be in the building if the commissioners addressed the harassment complaint that she has presented them. Macdonald expressed his concerns that Christoffersen is getting paid for a full-time position while not working in her office.

She feels she’s working full-time for the county. “You can talk with law enforcement,” she noted.

Fyfe asked if commissioners’ main concern was her potential wage or the job title. Commissioners didn’t respond to the question.

Three Roosevelt County deputies were in attendance at the meeting in support of Fyfe.

Toavs explained that the county has 110 employees and he doesn’t feel it would be fair to them if Fyfe is paid based on the clerk and recorder’s salary. In other business during the meeting, commissioners accepted the resignation of noxious weed supervisor Clay Petersen. Larry Heater was appointed to the board of health. Hired to the detention center during special administrative meetings were Stormy Fourstar, Nathan Clark and Koby Clark.

Commissioners approved Northern Plains Compliance Consulting to provide safety consulting services. The services offered will include monthly safety meetings, handout materials, quarterly facility audits, safety programs and policies and as-needed information and resources. A resolution was passed to put $14,336 in a new domestic preparedness fund. The money, received through a grant prepared by DES coordinator Lindsey McNabb, will maintain sirens throughout the county.

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