Last night’s Knox County Board meeting began with a flurry of complaints from several people who claimed to be former Knox County Landfill employees.
Complaints ranged from bullying and mismanagement to sexual harassment and racism.
Local activist Jerry Ryberg, who says more than a half dozen Landfill workers have corroborated the complaints, kicked things off by describing the landfill’s “mean-spirited, profane” bosses.
Galesburg man and former landfill worker Jim Harris told the board he was forced out in 2011 following mistreatment.
“When someone can come up to you and do whatever they want to do and the whole force of the county is on their side, it’s kind of scary,” Harris said. “Real scary. And pretty soon, somebody will pop and people aren’t going to put up with this kind of treatment.”
Another public comment, which was addressed by board members Jon Hunigan and Pam Davidson, involved the presence of Police Lives Matter signs on county property, particularly the sign outside the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.
Hunigan said he spoke with Sheriff Dave Clague, adding that the sheriff understood why the signs could be offensive to supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
After the meeting, Chairman Brian Friedrich said he had personally tended to similar landfill issues brought up earlier in the year.
Last night’s allegations were new to the chairman. Friedrich said he reached out to Ryberg to follow up on the matter.
In other news, the board unanimously approved the county’s 2016 budget for display despite its $220,000 general fund deficit.
Friedrich said the County Finance Committee will discuss doing away with vehicles in some departments to save money before personnel cuts are considered to right the deficit before the December 1st deadline.