Charged with theft, Wappes in court
Carlton County Transfer Station to conduct customer service survey
Joanne Wappes, 62, the former employee of Carlton County who was responsible for collecting and charging fees at the gate of the Carlton County Transfer Station, appeared in Carlton County court on Wednesday, October 23, with her attorney, Douglas Hazelton.
Wappes had been arrested and charged in September of Theft by Swindle and Theft of Public Funds, both of which are felonies, after a two-month investigation using video surveillance.
Hazelton told Judge Robert Macaulay Jr. that the investigation is still ongoing, and that it was going to take quite a bit of time.
Prosecution of the case has been turned over to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office because Wappes was a Carlton County employee.
A representative of the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office informed Judge Macaulay that Carl Sundquist of the Hibbing office would be handling the case. He also asked that the omnibus hearing be set in January to give Sundquist time to go through the large volume of material relating to the case.
The judge set the hearing for January 31 at 1:30 p.m.
Judge Macaulay said that a significant amount of time will be set aside on that date because it is not known what the issues will be.
In a press release issued on October 23, Carlton County Human Resources Director Dennis Genereau Jr. stated that Wappes was terminated from employment with Carlton County on October 3. No grievance has been filed challenging the termination.
It also stated that the current department head overseeing the transfer station has only supervised Wappes since 2012, since the previous supervisor retired.
“No complaints were made against the prior supervisor during his employment,” Genereau stated in the press release.
Genereau also stated that the county is reviewing its procedures for the handling of cash transactions. In addition, the county is reviewing all of its options for recovery of the stolen funds and will seek restitution in the criminal proceedings.
The Carlton County Transfer Station will be conducting a customer service survey at the Transfer Station Monday, November 18 through Saturday, November 23. The survey will also be available on the county’s website for the month of November at http://www.carltoncounty.com.
“We really want the public’s input on ways to improve customer service,” said Heather Cunningham, the Zoning and Environmental Services Administrator. “We’ve taken steps to make sure the fees are more transparent, but we want to listen to the public about what’s important to them.”
The survey only takes a minute or two to complete.
The Carlton County Transfer Station offers solid waste and recycling services to Carlton County residents. Area residents with questions about the Transfer Station can call the Zoning and Environmental Services Office at (218) 384-9176.