The Gage County Board has rejected for a second time, the offer of a grant through the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety to fund a deputy county prosecutor for alcohol offenses. The board cited a private legal opinion today that says the $96,000 dollar grant is not being accepted, because doing so is in direct conflict with a July 30th resolution which stated the county would not accept such a grant, nor any additional staff in the county attorney’s office.
The vote to reject the amended grant was 5-0, with one board member abstaining. County Attorney Randall Ritnour urged the board to accept the amended grant. Ritnour said under current staffing, his office can’t spend enough time on each alcohol-related case to handle them adequately, due to a huge increase in DUI arrests and prosecutions.
In order for the county board to consider the new grant, a member of the board majority that rejected the initial grant had to propose reconsideration. None did. Board member Dave Anderson said he was holding to his position that the board does not want to expand government, including adding personnel in the county attorney’s office. At the same time, he said the county board and attorney need to work toward restoring a working relationship.
Relations have been tense, since the disagreement over the grant funding began.
(Thanks to Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice)