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Dave Olson, Published May 12 2010

Clay sheriff gets approval to hire two deputies

Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist was happy with the Clay County Commission on Tuesday.

The board gave Bergquist authority to hire two deputies to replace employees expected to leave in July.

A third employee is expected to retire soon. That position is to be filled by promotion from within, and the Sheriff’s Department will be left with a vacancy that won’t be filled, resulting in a net loss of one position for the department this year.

That vacancy is on top of two positions that have gone unfilled since last year.

With workers taking vacations in coming months, the summer “is going to be quite a challenge” for the Sheriff’s Department, Bergquist told commissioners.

Commissioner Jerry Waller hinted that budget tightening will likely heighten staffing issues in the future.

“We don’t know what next year brings,” Waller said.

Commissioners Jon Evert and Grant Weyland said that with so many communities dealing with revenue shortfalls, it’s important for law enforcement agencies to look for ways they can work together to provide services.

“I think there needs to be a comprehensive plan for law enforcement in the whole county,” Evert said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555