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Who is cleaning the LEC?

By Staff | Dec 7, 2009

Emptying trash cans and light office cleaning aren’t duties you’d expect when choosing a career in law enforcement.

Yet, that’s what deputies in the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department and the sheriff have had to do the past several weeks at the new law enforcement center.

And, at times it’s even meant cleaning the bathrooms.

“Everyone is pitching in to try and keep up with what needs to be done,” says Sheriff Mike Gormley.

Last month, the county board asked the sheriff to seek proposals for snow removal, lawn mowing and cleaning of the new building.

Gormley says he’s in the process of developing job descriptions and hopes to advertise for help soon.

“We’re right in the middle of doing that. What needs to be cleaned, done and how often,” he says.

Commissioners briefly discussed the dilemma at their Tuesday meeting.

Commissioner Butch Erichs-rud says Sentence to Servewould be a way to cut costs, however, there are some instances the workers cannot be used.

“I’m going to strive to have them do as much as they legally can,” he says. “But, they can’t run anything that’s mechanical. If they get hurt we’re responsible. I don’t think a lot of people realize that.”

Gormley says using STS workers might not be a viable solution because it would be difficult to develop a regular, set schedule.

“It would be work that’s done when we are closed. Who would supervise them?” he says.

Tom Hennis, STS crew leader for Faribault County, says some jails use inmates to mop floors and shovel snow.

However, liability issues usually discourages relying on the STS program.

“The county commissioners are right spot on with the stipulations that make it difficult to use STS people,” he says. “It’s not that simple. It’s a lot more complicated than it seems on the surface.”

County Auditor-Treasurer John Thompson says funds to pay for maintenance costs will come from the jail budget, not the sheriff’s department budget.

He says $35,000 has been set aside in the 2010 budget.

“We’ve always had money available for snow removal, lawn mowing, cleaning or other expenses,” he adds.