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Barton County Commission Approves Settlement with Two Ex-Community Corrections Employees

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By Lucky Kidd

 

GREAT BEND, Kan. — Barton County Commissioners have approved a settlement agreement with two former Community Corrections Employees who were terminated from the County November 17, 2023, after a program audit report by the Kansas Department of Corrections.

The agreement was reached following mediation involving former director Amy Boxberger and Intensive Supervision Officer Tyler Lehmkuhl and the county’s then insurance carrier. County Counselor Patrick Hoffman, who presented the agreement, told Commissioners “In approving this the county is not admitting any wrongdoing, and in fact the county does not believe any laws were violated. However, in the best interests of preserving the county’s time, energy and resources, it is the recommendation of staff to approve these payments.

In approving the settlement, Commissioner Donna Zimmerman noted this has been one of many tough decisions she’s had to make since being elected.

“There is oftentimes information that the general public isn’t or can’t be made aware of,” Zimmerman said in saying while it pained her greatly, she would vote to approve the Settlement. “I hate the narrative settling the suit will create. There were serious deficiencies. Corrective action was called for by KDOC in their combined 57-page fiscal year 2023 Audit and Quality Improvement Plan,” she added.

Zimmerman would have preferred to see this case litigated, but the insurance carrier weighed the time and cost of litigation against settlement. That insurance carrier had dropped Barton County late last year in the wake of a large claim from last summer’s storms.

The agreement calls for the County to pay $25,000 as part of the settlement with Boxberger and $10,000 to Lehmkuhl, with the balance to be covered by insurance.