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NCDHD Executive Director Resigns

Sep 28, 2022 (0)

By Luann Schindler

Summerland Advocate

North Central District Health Department executive director Roger Wiese resigned Friday, prior to the district's board of health monthly meeting.

Board chairman Kelly Kalkowski, of Lynch, entered the board room at approximately 10:35 a.m., and notified members Wiese contacted him after 9 a.m., submitting his resignation, effective immediately.

In an emailed statement to Kalkowski, Wiese wrote, “I'm resigning from my position as executive director effective immediately. I've appreciated my time serving in this capacity. I wish the health department continued success in the future.”

According to the district's security check-in system, Wiese used his phone to check in and out, numerous times, between 4:15 and 4:45 a.m., Friday. The news spurred board discussion regarding banking signatures, IT services and onsite surveillance system.

Board members expressed concerns about Wiese's failure to return district property, including keys to the district building and storage facilities at the O'Neill armory and former Shopko facility.

During the meeting, Kalkowski contacted Wiese, who agreed to return property to Kalkowski in Lynch.

A call to a Norfolk-based IT firm led to the discovery that Wiese canceled services at 12:44 p.m., Thursday.

Kalkowski requested that service ticket be stopped.

“Our biggest concern, as a board, is the access Roger may have to it (the server) offsite and how do we correct that,” Kalkowski said.

Dan Spray, co-owner of Precision IT, assured the board any access from outside would be discontinued.

“I can get that locked down here within 30 minutes,” Spray said, noting Wiese had not contacted him directly about discontinuing services.

Kalkowski asked if the company would be able to review time stamps on files on the server.

“Can you see if something has been deleted and then restored?” asked Kyle Kallum, board member representing Cherry County.

Spray said a report from the previous 48 hours could be generated.

Dean Smith, representing Antelope County, expressed concerns about building security.

The board took similar action with Safe-N-Secure, a Sioux Falls-based company providing onsite surveillance, including key fobs for building access.

Natalie Miller, certified public accountant from Eide Bailey, LLP, shared a financial overview.

Miller said in light of Wiese's resignation, she deactivated his access “for internal control purposes.”

The accountant outlined how district bills are currently paid. An office assistant inputs bills which would be forwarded for approval to either Wiese or Whitney Abbott, who serves as the district's substance abuse prevention manager.

Miller suggested a board member provide top-level approval, to ensure bills can still be paid.

Denise Pribil, Holt County board representative, suggested a new process for approval, including approval prior to payment.

“There were a lot of expenses over $5,000,” she said.

Dustin Breiner, Holt County Supervisor serving on the board, agreed, noting that decision had been made at a prior meeting but was not carried through.

The health district uses bills.com to pay expenditures. Miller suggested establishing a group of board members who review bills and grant approval.

“It gives us a really good paper trail,” Miller said.

Kevin Mackeprang, Knox County supervisor, questioned if the board should “go through the claims process for every expense that happens at North Central District Health Department.”

“That's not what I signed up for as part of this committee. That's why we have an executive director who gets paid the money they get paid and have staff who approve,” Mackeprang said.

Charissa Sladek, office assistant, told board members approximately $60,000 in bills are waiting for approval, including several that are “months past due.” 

Smith questioned why Abbott was able to provide bill approval.

“Programatic approval. That way she can make sure it's classified to the correct program,” Miller said.

Breiner suggested a subcommittee be formed to approve expenditures.

Mackeprang disagreed again.

“The lack of oversight from the board has created a lot of questionable situations in this environment,” Pribil said.

Breiner suggested a state audit be requested.

Kalkowski asked what answers a state audit would provide.

The state audit would examine more than financial transactions, according to Breiner.

An audit was performed in 2018, following a complaint filed with the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts office. At the time, state auditors determined a full financial audit was unnecessary, but cited irregularities in supporting documentation for mileage reimbursement, lack of itemized receipts for credit card purchases, meal payments for multiple individuals, payment of sales tax, potential violation of the Local Government Miscellaneous Expenditure Act and sale of a surplus vehicle.

Elizabeth Parks, a public health nurse who has worked for the North Central District Health Department since late 2014, will serve as interim director.

Parks earned a bachelor of science in nursing degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center - Lincoln campus.

The board of health approved a motion to move Parks to a salary position, at the rate of $83,406.40, as interim director, effective immediately.

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