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Monday, May 2, 2016

Pocahontas controversy ends in rehiring of Guard vet as Laurens deputy

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Board of Supervisors has voted to reinstate a former sheriff's deputy who was laid off after returning from active duty with the Iowa National Guard.

The supervisors voted Tuesday to authorize Sheriff Bob Lampe to reinstate former deputy Brian Runneberg with back pay, effective Jan. 1.

The vote came after a closed-door meeting with Lampe, County Attorney Charles Gunderson and lawyers for Runneberg.

Runneberg, of Laurens, returned in August after spending a year on active duty with the National Guard. While he was gone, the city of Pocahontas and the county entered into an agreement for law enforcement coverage in the city and a reserve deputy was hired.

The contract with the city allowed the county to keep the reserve deputy but not Runneberg when budget cuts were made, said Anthony Smithhart, state director of the Veterans' Employment and Training Service with the U.S. Labor Department, which became involved in the dispute last month.

Lampe has said Runneberg was let go because of a tight budget.

"It was strictly a budgetary thing," said Lampe.

Final details of when Runneberg would return were still being negotiated, officials said.

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