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Yankton Co. forgiven for misusing 911 funding

PIERRE -- The Yankton County government shouldn't be financially punished for improperly spending 911 funds in 2012, state government's 911 Coordination Board decided Thursday.

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PIERRE - The Yankton County government shouldn't be financially punished for improperly spending 911 funds in 2012, state government's 911 Coordination Board decided Thursday.

County Commission Chairman Don Kettering and county Auditor Patty Hojem spoke by telephone with the state board members.

The amount was $141,139, according to Hojem and Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, deputy secretary for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Rechtenbaugh is state coordinator for 911 telephone emergency services.

State board members agreed on a motion that Rechtenbaugh should tell officials at the state Department of Legislative Audit "the issue has been satisfactorily resolved."

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All members of the Yankton County Commission are now different than those who held office in 2012, Hojem told the state board.

Hojem said the funds aren't in the county budget. "That is a sum of money for our county," she said.

Said Kettering: "We need to settle it."

Rechtenbaugh's recommendation to the state board was to forgive the matter.

There haven't been any further instances of misuse since 2012, Rechtenbaugh said.

The state board also authorized creation of the position of NextGen 911 project manager.

The board capped the starting salary at $60,000.

Rechtenbaugh said DPS has an open slot that could be used and Secretary Trevor Jones gave his approval.

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She said state government's Bureau of Human Resources would approve the job description and set the salary range.

The person would work directly with the board but would be hired by the department and answer to her, Rechtenbaugh said.

She guessed the pay would be "somewhere around the fiftyish mark." The salary and benefits would be paid from the 9-1-1 surcharge funding managed by the board.

State government charges $1.25 per month per line and a 2 percent fee on prepaid phone purchases.

"It is in the master plan," Ted Rufledt Jr. of Rapid City, the board's chairman, said about the new position. "I felt early on it was going to be a two-person deal."

South Dakota has been converting to a new generation of 911 telephone services.

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