Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Commissioners to evaluate veterans service officer

 


The Kimball County Commissioners will evaluate Veterans Service Officer Shaun Evertson’s job performance at their Aug. 18 meeting.

The commissioners unanimously voted to send a letter to Evertson and to members of the county veterans service committee to advise them that Evertson will undergo an employee evaluation at the meeting. The letter states the meeting is to “discuss job performance and recent actions of Shaun Evertson.” The letter will also request that Evertson be present for the meeting. The meeting will be held in closed session “to prevent needless injury to the reputation of the employee” unless Evertson requests that it be held in open session.

A second related agenda item, which will be held in open session, will allow commissioners to take action on related items discussed during the closed session.

Audrey Elliott, board attorney, said Evertson’s performance will be evaluated in the closed session, and an expectation of conduct will be discussed. She also said it will allow both parties to talk about concerns and give Evertson an opportunity to voice concerns to the commissioners.

The hope is to have a plan on how to move forward after the closed session.

Tuesday’s action is just the latest in an ongoing rift that started in February. At issue has been the hours and pay for Evertson and his assistant. They are both part-time. The commissioners allowed Evertson to hire part-time help for his office this spring, which is the first time in at least two decades the office has had additional paid help. Evertson disputed some of the details surrounding the pay and hour allowed to work since he made the hire in late April.

A sometimes contentious discussion during the July 7 commissioners meeting led to an inflammatory-worded veterans service committee “emergency” meeting notice, written by Evertson, in which said the meeting was called to “discuss and take action regarding the ongoing disruptive and damaging activities of the Kimball County Clerk and the Kimball County Board of Commissioners which are severely impacting the ability of the Veterans Service Committee and Veterans Service Office to execute their statutory mission.”

The commissioners immediately called an emergency meeting after receiving the notice July 9 and held a lengthy discussion about the meeting notice, the history of allowing Evertson to hire part-time help and a temporary solution. The veterans service committee then met July 16 to discuss its budget.

Things continued to escalate after Evertson posted a notice for a veterans service committee meeting set for July 23 to discuss the budget. Elliott said in the July 21 commissioners meeting that Evertson’s notice included multiple violations of the open meetings act. The commissioners voted unanimously that day to send a warning letter to the veterans service committee instructing them not to meet July 23 or the commissioners would take legal action against them. The veterans service did not meet July 23 after receiving the letter from the commissioners.

 

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