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Hubbard County auditor temporarily suspended

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Hubbard County Auditor Pam Heeren was suspended without pay for 20 calendar days Wednesday afternoon.

Although the suspension was to take effect Sept. 26, Heeren, who could not be reached for comment, apparently elected to leave her office immediately.

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Hubbard County Coordinator Deb Thompson said the suspension "was to address a disciplinary matter." Two letters were placed in her personnel file, board minutes indicate.

The to close the meeting for personnel reasons item was not on the publicly posted agenda Wednesday morning, but was hastily added to a revised agenda just before the 9 a.m. regular board meeting.

When asked why the last minute addition, Thompson said, "because we didn't know for sure if we were going to have it or not."

Reporters were told, when the board meeting was closed, that it was for union negotiations, which actually came after Heeren's suspension.

Department heads that work closely with Heeren seemed stunned by the action, as did County Attorney Don Dearstyne, who was not consulted.

Heeren's voice mail is the voice of deputy auditor Sandy Rittgers, who indicates Heeren would be back on the job Oct. 25.

Board chair Greg Larson, who did not attend Wednesday's meeting, said he could not comment on the suspension.

"I don't know what I can say and what I can't say," Larson said.

Heeren was given a 35-year service award last year.

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