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Transfer station closed because of employee issue

The Wadena County Transfer Station is closed until further notice following the placement of two employees on leave.

Solid Waste Director Scott Carpenter was placed on unpaid leave and transfer station employee Joel Walsvik was placed on paid leave until further notice following a March 25 emergency closed county board meeting to "give preliminary consideration regarding allegations or charges in a criminal matter against a county employee," as stated by Chairman Dave Schermerhorn, according to meeting minutes.

Commissioner Bill Stearns was unable to attend the emergency meeting because the county attorney said there was a potential conflict of interest because of client confidentiality, he said. He is also the board liaison to the solid waste department head.

Commissioner Rodney Bounds could not physically attend the meeting due to a family medical situation, but was available by phone, according to information provided by Auditor Char West.

County Attorney Kyra Ladd and Chief Deputy Sheriff Bill Cross attended the meeting.

Mike Gibson, the county's human resources consultant, was also present after the board extended his services to deal with the issue. He will continue to "oversee the cleanup and reorganization of the transfer station until further notice," the minutes said.

Local waste haulers are being notified to haul their loads directly to the Perham Resource Recovery Facility or the Henning Transfer Station until further notice, according to the minutes.