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Griggs County Commissioner Proposes Substantial Cuts to County J - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Griggs County Commissioner Proposes Substantial Cuts to County Jobs

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In Griggs county serious cuts are being considered by the new commission. The cuts would impact the roads department, sheriffs office, and the court house just to name a few. Today Valley News team's Eric Crest went to Cooperstown to get the full story and find out why this is the current solution.

So how did Griggs county get to the point of eliminating or cutting hours of a handful of county employees down to the point where they no longer receive benefits? It started at the creation of the uncompleted new Griggs county Courthouse.

"There has to be a logical path forward cause to do nothing will cause the project to come to a screeching halt," says John Wakefield a Griggs county Commissioner.

Turns out there was never enough money in the budget to create the new courthouse and today commissioners are trying to figure out how to avoid plunging into about half a million dollars in debt for the new building.

"Now we'll go and talk to department heads and see if they have any input on how we should handle this," says Wakefield.

The proposal could include dropping a Sheriffs deputy from the force, which they only have three of to start with. The commission has also proposed dropping the clerk of courts assistant down to just 40 percent of their typical schedule. Back in 2008 that position was in a similar boat to what they've proposed.

"It was a struggle. It was a struggle at that time just having two full time people," says Kelly Vincent the current Griggs county Clerk of Court and Recorder.

But the cuts would keep coming. The road department bookkeeper would be cut down to 40 percent of their typical week too. The treasurers deputy would be left with just over 20 hours for a work week as well.

"And that's an issue trying to find someone who will work for that without the benefits," says Connie Eslinger the Griggs county treasurer.

The commissioners would like to make a decision on how to best avoid the mounting debt the new courthouse could cost them. But today a lot of folks feel like they're being blind sided.

"None of you have come at least to my office and asked what I do. What part of my job you need to know about? And you got rid of an employee which makes us wonder whose next," says Eslinger.

The intention of today's meeting was to hear county workers' feedback as to how to avoid the proposed cuts. No decisions have been set in stone but the commissioners said today that they would give their salaries, totaling about 50-thousand dollars, to the county to do their part.

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