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Pennington County commissioner reprimanded for bullying

RAPID CITY (AP) -- Four Pennington County commissioners have publicly reprimanded a fellow board member for allegedly bullying and harassing Planning Department staff.

RAPID CITY (AP) - Four Pennington County commissioners have publicly reprimanded a fellow board member for allegedly bullying and harassing Planning Department staff.

The decision to suspend George Ferebee was made Tuesday in closed session. Commissioners said Ferebee had a conflict of interest. The Rapid City Journal reports Ferebee's attorney objected to the move, calling it "unconstitutional."

Commissioners say Ferebee created a hostile work environment at the Planning Department and violated the county's code of ethics.

First elected to the commission in June 2014, Ferebee is accused in court of violating county ordinance by failing to obtain a permit for his septic system. The county's planning director says Ferebee used his position to pursue information for his court case.

An attorney representing Ferebee says the commissioner never had a chance to respond to the complaints.

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Commission Chairman Lyndell Petersen disagrees, saying Ferebee had a chance to respond when the charges were read to him during an executive session earlier this month.

Ferebee has filed two petitions with the South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Water Management Board asking the board to declare that cities and counties are bound by a state law that exempts them from regulations for onsite wastewater systems that existed before Feb. 28, 1975.

Assistant State's Attorney Jay Alderman was ordered by the commission in August 2011 to investigate what laws may be applicable to citizens harassing county employees after a verbal altercation occurred between Ferebee and then-Planning and Zoning director Dan Jennissen.

Related Topics: PENNINGTON COUNTY
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