The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

County at odds over community service and liability


Concerns about liability and supervision caused Cheyenne County commissioners to consider a new policy concerning court mandated community service on government land.

Commissioners could not come to a decision, preferring to seek legal advice on the matter.

The county previously had an issue with a juvenile sent to the court house to mow the lawn as part of his community service. No one was sure who would supervise him or what would happen if he was injured while working on county property.

"That's the part that bothers me," said county clerk Beth Fiegenschuh. "It's not that they're doing community service, because they have before."

Juveniles have performed community service on the property in that past, but previously they were always supervised. The commissioners also considered covering those completing court ordered work on county property under Cheyenne County's workman's compensation policy in case of injury.

"There's other community service they could do around here," commissioner Steven Olsen said. " Not necessarily in the courthouse but in the community of Sidney."

Those with court ordered service could do this work in other parts of the community, he suggested.

"They're not gonna be under Cheyenne County's workman's comp if they're not on our property," Fiegenschuh said.

Probation officers and the court decide where community service is performed.

"We don't have to have them here," Fiegenschuh said.

She suggested the commissioners decide whether or not they want those performing this service to do it on the county property or not.

Commissioner Harold Winkelman suggested consulting with county attorney Paul Schaub about any ideas for new policies before going through with anything.

In the past some of those doing community service for Kimball County had been sent to Cheyenne County courthouse to complete their sentence. Winkelman also didn't think that those doing community service for other counties should be sent to Cheyenne County to perform service work. He thought allowing those serving for Cheyenne County to do work at the courthouse would be acceptable.

"I think it's fine," Winkelman said.

Fiegenschuh explained that those doing community service needed supervision because they're juveniles who've gotten in trouble.

"If we have to have direct supervision, of those people, I think that would be up to the probation, if they wanted to have them here, then probation should provide supervision, not the county," county commissioner Ken McMillen said.

He disagreed with spending county tax dollars in the form of salary on supervision of these juveniles.

"If we allow community service, it has to be supervised by someone other than a county employee," McMillen said. "Does that make sense? If not, you'd end up having employees take away from their job description to provide service to this individual in the probation."

The county commissioners decided to relay this to Paul Schaub for further insight.

"I think we have the right to say no," Fiegenschuh said.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018

Rendered 01/11/2019 18:51