TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Commission heard reports from Clerk of Court, Goshen County Sheriff’s Office and the Goshen County Fire Warden during its regular meeting on Tuesday at the Goshen County Courthouse.
One of the highlights of the meeting came toward the end of the day. John Ellis was picked to be the new chairman of the commission in a unanimous vote. He will replace Wally Wolski, who left the GCC in July for an appointment with the United States Department of Agriculture. Commissioner Cody Cox was chosen as the vice chairman.
Ellis had been serving in the role since Wolski’s departure.
Goshen County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Wes Deen came before the commission to request that the GCSO be allowed to fill a control clerk position that has been vacant since 2012. Control clerks monitor the Goshen County Detention Center through the facility’s closed-circuit systems and remotely lock and unlock all of the secure doors in the facility.
“We had a position for a control clerk in 2012,” Deen said. “A control clerk resigned at that time, and the previous administration did not see a need to re-hire at that point. We’ve been filling the position with one of the front office people part-time, but we haven’t been able to do that for a while now. Basically, we’re paying a full-time deputy to run the control room instead of be a deputy. We’d like to put the position back into play.”
Deen cited a growing inmate population in the jail due to housing inmates from Scottsbluff County, Neb., the Wyoming Department of Corrections and the United States Marshall Service as the reason for needing another clerk, and keeping a deputy on the floor.
The issue with adding a position, however, is that while jail income has been climbing steadily over the past year, adding another position would exceed the budget the county approved in July.
“Right now, in this last budget cycle, the sheriff budgeted less jail income,” County Clerk and budget officer Cindy Kenyon said. “We’re now faced with inmate numbers rising, and as of right now, we have received around $18,000.”
Kenyon suggested that the position be put on the backburner until the county has a clear picture of how money the jail will bring in.
“I don’t know if now is the time, but it’s something we have to keep in back of our heads,” Kenyon said. “We are going to need it at some point.”
“I suggest we keep it on backburner until we figure out the jail’s income. I know you guys are timely and you didn’t ask before you got some inmates back.”
The GCC agreed with Kenyon, and the idea was temporarily tabled.
Fire Warden Bill Law recommended that the county should continue its partial fire ban throughout September, and the commissioners agreed with a unanimous vote.
“We’re getting to a dry and windy part of season,” Law said. “A lot of grass could be taking off.”
Emergency Management Coordinator Shelly Kirchhefer presented the commission with an update on her recent grant proposals, which was approved unanimously.
The commission also heard a report from the clerk of court, which was approved unanimously.