- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BOWBELLS, N.D. (AP) - Commissioners in Burke County are looking into allegations of a hostile work environment in the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Michael Cude recently fired secretary Sue Christiansen for allegedly taking a longer period of leave than she had been allowed. He also told the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1mbI9lX ) that he was “left out of the loop” when the county commission granted leave to Christiansen.

Christiansen said she was given leave last month when she raised concerns about a hostile work environment and commissioners wanted to investigate her allegations. She and Commission Chairman Allen Ryberg said other female employees at the courthouse also feel threatened by Cude.

Cude said he has little contact with courthouse employees outside his own office and denied creating a hostile work environment.

“I’m just trying to do my job,” he said.

The dissension is a distraction created by those who don’t want him as sheriff, Cude said. He is up for re-election in November, facing former deputy Shawn Brien, who outpolled him in the June primary 246 votes to 189. The top two finishers in the primary moved on to the general election.

Cude has been sheriff since late May, when the commission appointed him to replace Barry Jager, who resigned to take another county position. Ryberg objected to Cude’s hiring but was outvoted.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com


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