Archive for Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Diversion agreement prompts questions

March 22, 2000

A Leavenworth County employee, who last fall was accused of making $1,300 worth of 900-number calls on a county infirmary telephone, has been fired.

The county fired Daniel Day, 21, last Friday. But his employment termination apparently centered on a separate incident involving clients of the Leavenworth County Council on Aging. No one in county government would discuss exactly why Day was fired, saying the matter was a personnel issue.

"From what I understand, he either got their (Council on Aging clients) phone numbers or their phone credit card numbers and used that to make the 900-number phone calls," said Wayne Eldridge, county commissioner.

Representatives with the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department and the Leavenworth Police Department said they could find no active cases involving Day.

Eldridge questioned why Day remained on the county payroll last fall, after he was accused of making $1,300 worth of 900-number calls from a County Infirmary telephone. County records show that Day, who began work at the infirmary in August 1998, was transferred to the Council on Aging on Nov. 3, 1999.

"Why didn't he go to a psychiatrist, if they were going to keep him?" Eldridge said. "That's what doesn't make sense. I thought he was fired last year, until he showed up at the Council on Aging. I thought he was gone."

Major Dave Zoellner, Leavenworth County undersheriff, said his department investigated the 900-number calls made from the infirmary.

"We developed a suspect, and all that information was turned over to the prosecutor for the possible filing of charges," he said.

According to Frank Kohl, county attorney, he agreed to let Day enter into a diversion agreement, after receiving a request from Leavenworth County Commissioner Bob Adams. At that time, Adams was chairman of the commission.

"The chairman of the county commission asked that we consider it for diversion," Kohl said. "The county was the victim, and they had gotten a letter delivered to the board of county commissioners from a family member asking them to consider letting him apply for diversion."

Adams said he knew little about the reasons for Day's recent employment termination.

"I really can't say much about that because I don't know much about it yet," Adams said. "I know that he was on diversion from the original charges, but I was told that something had happened since then."

Adams said he'd received a letter from Day's mother, who works for the county, asking if a diversion were possible. So he talked with Kohl.

"I have no control over the county attorney," Adams said. "The county attorney does his own thing. I think, by saying something to him, it may had something to do with it. But we don't have much control over what the court system does. I'm a commissioner of one, and I don't have any power over anybody. Don't misconstrue that I made that happen. I did not make that happen."

Eldridge emphasized that the county commission did not intervene on Day's behalf.

"The board, as three, never discussed that," Eldridge said. "Bob Adams did that on his own. When I found out that he got the diversion, I went up to Frank Kohl's office and raised seven kinds of hell."

If Day has broken any laws recently, Kohl said, it would violate the terms of his diversion agreement.

Day has made restitution in the case involving the infirmary telephone, according to Denise A. Bardroff, director of the county's special projects office. Charges were not filed against Day, which is unusual, said Bardroff, who is an adult diversion officer.

Day paid $1,359.67 in restitution. He signed a diversion agreement on Feb. 17, and had made one $50 payment on a $300 diversion fee, she said.

Among the terms of his agreement are that he not violate any laws, that he not hold any county job that deals with the use of a telephone, that he maintain full-time employment and that he complete his General Education Development degree.

By entering into a diversion, Day acknowledged that the county attorney's office had sufficient evidence to prove that Day had committed the crime of theft of services between last August and October, Bardroff said.

Linda Lobb, director of the Council on Aging, said she couldn't discuss specifics of Day's employment.

"He was a transfer from the county infirmary," she said. "I just hate this because we try to build trust here, and we work really hard. We go to great lengths. I think everybody here was shocked. To have somebody who is our employee do this is going to impact us for a long, long time. I think it was a terrible situation that we were put in."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.