Sublette County Commissioners

Commissioners talk projects, training at regular meeting

By Cali O'Hare, managing editor,
Posted 2/29/24

The Board of Sublette County Commissioners ran through a busy agenda at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

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Sublette County Commissioners

Commissioners talk projects, training at regular meeting


PINEDALE — The Board of Sublette County Commissioners ran through a busy agenda at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

First up was Road and Bridge Superintendent Billy Pape who reported his department was busy with snow removal and prep work at the gravel pits in anticipation of crushing. Asked about the East Green River Road Project by commissioners, Pape explained due to the no-dig restrictions currently in place, his department won’t begin groundwork on that project until April.

Switching to his Waste Management role, Pape said the new building at the county’s transfer station turned out great and a new building is being erected at the landfill.

Asked by chair Sam White for an update about obtaining a grinder for the county, Pape said he’d received paperwork for a variety of options. White then asked clerk Carrie Long to add a presentation of the grinder options to the March 5 meeting agenda.

Maintenance Superintendent Andre Irey explained outdated hardware in the jail doors needs to be replaced but it’s hard to find the appropriate parts because of the age of the infrastructure. “If other stuff breaks on them, they’re not going to operate,” Irey cautioned the commissioners before recommending the doors be replaced entirely. No action was taken.

Irey said a sheriff’s deputy broke his key off in his gun locker. Irey used specialized tools to try to pull the chunk of key out of the lock but was unsuccessful. “I’ll probably try to drill it to get that gun out of there,” he concluded.

Standing in for Fire Warden Shad Cooper, M.L. Baxley presented the monthly fire report for the Sublette County Unified Fire. SCUF firefighters gained some wildland experience conducting prescribed burns thanks to a grant and agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. With the project complete and the paperwork in order, Baxley presented a closeout request form for the grant to de-obligate the remaining $8,764.64, which was approved unanimously by the board.

Mark Warner of Rocky Mountain Communication Systems presented the proposed annual maintenance contract for the SIRS radio system for all of the communications infrastructure in use by the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office and SCUF. The five-year contract, which starts at $180,676 a year and increases by at least 3 percent each year, covers maintenance and repairs for all of the portable radios deployed with deputies and firefighters, all of the radio sites on Kismet, Hogsback, White Pine, Marbleton and Luman, the dispatch locations in Marbleton and Pinedale and all associated software.

At the direction of the commissioners, Warner will put together a formal contract for the board to take action on in March.

County Administrator Jeness Saxton said board training required by the Department of Audit has been scheduled for April 30. Saxton said all boards that deal with taxpayer dollars were notified.

Saxton said the county planning committee held its second strategic planning meeting recently, where employees discussed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the county is facing. The group will then develop strategic initiatives and the metrics associated with those to present to the commissioners.

Human Resources Director Andrea Jean provided an update on available training modules, noting that one, in particular, stood out among the others because it’s so engaging. The training could be offered as classroom-based or on a computer. Included within the program are trainings regarding conflict resolution, sexual harassment, safety, leadership and more. Only the harassment and safety training would be mandatory for county employees — the other courses would be available at the employee’s request.

The first year would cost the county $8,275.90 for the first year and then go up to $9,251 for the second and third years. Jean proposed using funding from the professional development fund to cover the cost.

Commissioner Doug Vickrey said, “I don’t feel very comfortable being in a dictatorship and that’s where we’re going with some of this stuff.”

Chairman White added, “You don’t have a workforce that knows right or wrong. Look at some of the issues we’ve had to deal with in the last year.”

Vickrey contended, “Most of the perpetrators know the difference between right and wrong.”

“Fair enough,” White responded, before adding, “But when the judge asks you, ‘did you train your employee on what he could and couldn’t do at work and what was acceptable and what wasn’t?’ You can’t say, ‘I just assumed he grew up in a good home and knew what was right and wrong.’”

Commissioner Mack Bradley chimed in, noting, “In today’s world, the four or five bad apples have ruined it for the 95 percent of the good ones; there needs to be an avenue to get rid of them.”

Commissioner Tom Noble added, “It’s not only that, it’s a tool that we can use to stand up in court and potential litigation.”

County Attorney Clayton Melinkovich said, “We need to be thinking about liability and litigation from a variety of directions. Yes, there is the potential for litigation for the person who feels they were terminated inappropriately. There is also the aspect of the folks who have been harassed or treated poorly by supervisors or other employees who could sue the county because they were subjected to that level of treatment. The ability to say that the county recognized a potential risk and required training is a specific defense in litigation in those circumstances.”

Noble added, “With as many litigations as we are going to be going through, I’d say yes.”

Jean will present a paper contract to the board for a motion and a signature at the March 5 meeting.

The commissioners also met with golf course board member Levi Lozier to discuss the possibility of the county absorbing the golf course and its employees. Lozier said the golf course committee has been “kicking around the idea of the golf course being a county entity. It would just pull it together like a business.”

Lozier said he’s witnessed “inefficiency after inefficiency” out at the golf course during his two years on the board.

Under the proposal, Lozier recommended the county have two full-time employees, a golf course manager/assistant mechanic and an assistant superintendent/mechanic. Lozier suggested four seasonal employees and five pro-shop employees. He recommended the county not take over the restaurant and continue to allow business owners to lease it. The commissioners listened to Lozier’s proposal but took no formal action, instead directing him to put together some numbers.

The commissioners adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of personnel to conduct employee reviews and evaluations. The next meeting of the Sublette County Commissioners is scheduled for March 5, beginning at 9 a.m.

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