Records reveal years of complaints against Carlton Co. landfill worker

By KBJR News 1

October 8, 2013 Updated Oct 8, 2013 at 7:32 PM CDT

Carlton, MN (NNCNOW.com) - New details have been released about the number of complaints filed against a Carlton County landfill employee charged with allegedly stealing thousands in taxpayer money.

The complaints go back more than 17 years.

Carlton County Director of Human Resources couldn't go into the specifics regarding the past complaints because of Government Data privacy laws, but Dennis Genereau says the 20 complaints filed against Joanne Wappes over a 17-year span should have warranted concern.

In records going back to 1996, multiple complaints were made against Wappes, each was subsequently resolved and no disciplinary action was taken following any of the complaints.

Carlton counties officials declined to elaborate on the nature of the complaints because no disciplinary action was taken, except in one instance, where Wappes was verbally warned not to unplug the office telephone.

Genereau says the investigation into the complaints against Wappes quickly escalated shortly after a change in county administration in the summer of 2012.

"It's two new sets of eyes looking at something and saying, hey wait a minute, something should be done here regardless of what's gone on in the past, what hasn't gone on in the past. There appears that there might be some issues here we need to take a look at that seriously," said Dennis Genereau, director of Carlton County Human Resources.

Wappes has been charged with two felony counts for allegedly stealing multiple transfer station payments from Carlton County residents during her 30 year tenure at the landfill.

Investigators say more than a million dollars has been found in various bank accounts and in Wappes car.

The county has charged Wappes with stealing public funds in excess of $35,000.

Wappes will be back in court Wednesday morning on the charges.

Jeremy Brickley
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