A letter drafted Wednesday by Johnson County Attorney Ken DeCock's office addressed to the county commissioners and sent to media representatives in Northeast Wyoming has sparked a response from the commissioners themselves.
The letter begins by pointing out that commissioner's administrative assistant Jennifer Jackson informed DeCock's office that she was told by the commissioners to cease working on the grant application for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) for the county's Drug Diversion Program and Juvenile Probation. Jackson, according to the letter, was sent to grant writing school to assist in writing this specific grant among others.
DeCock's letter then said having Jackson stop work on the grant application appeared to him to be in retaliation for his office's preveious actions involving the County Assessor and the County's Fuel Depot, and that he hoped the commissioners would reconsider the decision. No one in his office, according to the letter, is trained in writing grants and he explained he may have to hire outside help if Jackson was not allowed to help in the grant writing process.
He closed by adding there appears to be issues between the commissioners and his office that need to be resolved and he hopes they can clear the air and work together for the citizens of the county.
The county commissioners received the letter Thursday morning and issued a letter in response, saying they told Ms. Jackson to cease working on the grant application due to the delicate nature of the material needed to write the grant, and they did so to protect the confidentiality of those involved. They also said the grant is the responsibility of the county attorney's office and should be completed by them. The grant application, according to the letter, has been previously written by Volunteers Of America (VOA) employee Debby Lynch.
The commissioners said Ms. Jackson was sent to grant writing school to help them in administering and understanding the grant writing process and help them in grant writing, not specifically to write this grant.
DeCock has in the past, according to the letter, hired outside help for writing grants so they are confused about why he feels the need to have Ms. Jackson write this grant application.
Finally, the commissioners asked why the county attorney's office sent the letter by e-mail to Sheridan Media, the Buffalo Bulletin, Sheridan Press, Gillette News-Record and the Casper Star-Tribune on Wednesday but chose to send the letter to the commissioners by mail, which they received on Thursday.
To view the County Attorney's letter, click here
To view the County Commissioner's response, click here