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Double duty for Ogle County sheriff

Harn starts job with Forrestville Valley district June 2

Published: Saturday, May 24, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn

Starting on June 2, Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn will be working two jobs.

Harn’s term as sheriff ends in November. But for the next 6 months, he’ll also have a full-time responsibility to the Forrestville Valley School District. The board there on Wednesday hired him as the district’s maintenance coordinator.

The job pays $17 an hour, and Harn will be expected to work 40 hours a week, said district Superintendent Jane Eichman.

Harn will be in charge of buildings and grounds maintenance for the district, which includes two elementary school buildings and a combined junior and senior high school, Eichman said, adding that he’ll also be supervisor of the district’s custodians.

Harn was elected Ogle County sheriff in 2010. He lost a close primary election to Rochelle police officer Brian VanVickle in March.

Harn’s salary as sheriff is $87,000. If he works 40 hours a week for the school district from June 2 through November, he will make about $61,000 between the two jobs.

Harn didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In April, Sauk Valley Media reported that in the month after the election, Harn had been present at the department only three times, according to a longtime member of the department who spoke on the condition of anonymity, compared to “three or four” times a week in his first 3 years as sheriff.

Harn had been calling in to the department and was available through email, the source said in April.

During the interview process for the maintenance coordinator position, Eichman said Harn was asked about how he would be able to balance his time between June and the end of his term. Eichman said Harn assured the district it wouldn’t be a problem.

Harn lives in Forreston, where two of the district’s schools are located. The other school is in German Valley, in Stephenson County.

On May 20, the Ogle County Board approved a “forensic examination” of the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department’s tow fund.

In December, Sauk Valley Media reported that the tow fund, which isn’t in he county budget, had been used to pay for vehicle repairs and purchases, in addition to flowers for Secretary’s Day, a tent at the Ogle County Fair, and a $4,000 fee for the department’s Facebook page to be managed, among other expenses.

In February, the Ogle County Board restricted the tow fund’s uses and revenue sources and transferred it to the treasurer.

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