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County, Christoffersen Argue Over Resolution, Conduct

Roosevelt County and County Attorney Janet Christoffersen are disagreeing in court about the enforceability of a resolution and other issues.

Resolution 2024-2, which was approved on July 25, 2023, set the county attorney’s salary at $119,215.60 and deputy county attorney’s salary at 85 percent of the county attorney’s pay. The resolution also made the county attorney a parttime position and kept the deputy county attorney’s position at full-time. Christoffersen argues that it was impossible for the county attorney to approve the changes because she was removed from office in late June 2023.

The county argues that deputy county attorney Thomas Bleicher had authority to consent to the resolution. Attorney Stephanie Oblander notes that statutes make it clear that activities and duties of county offices can continue seamlessly and without interruption, regardless of the temporary absence of the principal officer.

Oblander writes, “Christoffersen alleges commissioners have breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. She claims compensatory damages stemming from the commissioners’ efforts to hold Christoffersen to the limited four-month interim tenure discussed and agreed to. Christoffersen alleges that courthouse staff has treated Christoffersen and her staff in a hostile manner, circumstances that are not material to this motion yet explain why commissioners are reluctant to assume the resolution’s validity without a court declaring it so.”

Oblander concludes, “The contents, passage and approval of the resolution are not in dispute. The resolution relates to terms and conditions of the office of Roosevelt County Attorney. Christoffersen’s declaratory action seeks declaration of the parties’ rights and responsibilities concerning that position. The issue of the resolution’s enforceability is a legal issue properly decided by the court. For these reasons, summary judgment determining the validity and enforceability of the resolution is proper and necessary.”

Christoffersen has filed a brief in support of motion to amend the complaint. Her complaint regards the county’s conduct towards her since she was reinstated by the court to the position of county attorney. “No person should be expected to endure such conduct during their employment. For that reason, plaintiff has sought to amend her complaint to add claim of hostile work environment and retaliation.”

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