Attorney’s investment questioned

Alexis Barker, NLJ News Editor

A trio of Weston County commissioners expressed concerns during a recent meeting about Deputy Weston County Attorney Jeani Stone’s work on both the county employee handbook and a dispatch contract or resolution. Vice Chairman Nathan Todd and Commissioners Don Taylor and Ed Wagoner were the only commissioners in attendance at the board’s Sept.  20 meeting. 

“We have two assignments that were kind of put out to Jeani … a contract or resolution on dispatch and employee handbook, which we have not seen yet,” Taylor said. “So I was just looking for an update on where we’re on that … and what kind of bang for the buck we got out of that.” 

The News Letter Journal earlier reported that on March 1 in a 3-2 split vote (Chairwoman Marty Ertman and Commissioners Tony Barton and Wagoner voting in favor and Commissioners Taylor and Todd against), the board voted to enter a four-month $20,180 agreement with Stone. The proposal was suggested and prepared by Stone. 

The agreement listed various issues Stone planned to address over that period, including the employee handbook, personnel issues, board training, contract review and other duties. Stone also continued working as the deputy county attorney while taking on the additional public relations/human resource duties included in the agreement. 

As part of the agreement, Stone’s salary increased from $5,000 a month to $7,500 a month for four months. The total cost for this increase, including benefits, was $10,901, according to her proposal. 

The agreement also included the addition of a part-time secretarial position for the same period. The total cost for this position was listed at $6,279 in the proposal. 

Also included in the agreement was a $3,000 line item for training and consulting fees. This line item would “allow for trainers and consultants/facilitators to come in and present on various topics” and to “aid in task completion.” 

The commissioners participated in a board training, set up by Stone, with Jerimiah Rieman, executive director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, on April 19. 

Per the four-month time frame, the commissioners expected to have the employee handbook and contract with the city for consideration in June. 

“Here we are, she thought she would have it by June and it is late September,” Todd said. 

All three commissioners at the Sept. 20 meeting agreed that an update from Stone on her progress was needed. 

“I would like to see resolution on this with Jeani. What have we gotten for the $20,000?” Taylor asked. “I’m not seeing it.” 

County Attorney Michael Stulken reported that Stone had been sick, although he did not mention specifics. He noted that she had informed him that she had sent correspondences to the department heads for feedback on the handbook. 

The News Letter Journal requested additional comment from both Stone and Stulken, but no response was returned by press time.

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