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Jefferson taxpayers express concerns over cell phone situation

A group of taxpayers voiced their concerns Monday over the allegations in inappropriate actions by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

We first brought you this story last week, when concerned citizens voiced concerns about the fact that Sheriff Blair Olsen’s wife had been using a county-issued cell phone, paid for with public funds.

Olsen has said the cell phone in question has been turned in to the county.

On Monday, the group that started all the claims went before the county commissioners and demanded an audit of the sheriff’s office for what they call proactive healing for the community.

But the commissioners said Jefferson County undergoes a fiscal audit every year, and that no red flags or disrepancies were raised in the most recent audit.

Commissioners also said it would be a financial strain to request a forensic audit, as those cost about $70,000.

If there was one thing everyone could agree on, it’s that the situation needs to be resolved so the town can move on.

“What happened today with the group bringing their message to the county commissioners – that’s where it should have started,” said Mike Peterson of Rigby. “Not with the rumors and innuendos and things that tear apart a community.”

“I want to see the trust restored,” said Brian Farnsworth, who will soon serve on the commission. “I want to see (Olsen) brought back as an outstanding public figure. I think if we resolve this cell phone issue, and maybe if there’s any other issues, they perform an audit or whatever they need to do. Let’s bring the trust back.”

The commissioners said they would take everything present Monday under advisement. They are scheduled to meet again Aug. 27 at the county courthouse.

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