Dencklau speaks out about termination

Former Webster County Jail Administrator Shawna Dencklau spoke out about her termination at Tuesday’s Webster County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Dencklau was removed from her position last week by Webster County Sheriff Luke Fleener. On Friday, Fleener told The Messenger that he couldn’t comment on internal disciplinary actions and “we just came to the conclusion that was the best option for our department moving forward.”

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Dencklau told the supervisors that she was fired after nearly 15 years with a “spotless” employee record. She said the reasons she was given for the termination were “insubordination and refusal to work with management and supervisors.”

“This termination stems from a meeting I had with the sheriff on July 19 regarding a survey I had approved to send out to all (jail) employees to return anonymously,” Dencklau said.

She said the survey was meant for her and Assistant Jail Administrator Heather Perry to receive feedback from staff on how they can be better leaders.

Dencklau claimed she was fired because at the July 19 meeting, she was told her survey was “inappropriate” because she had not gotten approval from Fleener and Chief Deputy Derek Christie prior to distributing the survey.

“I was terminated without any verbal or written coaching, counseling or disciplinary actions,” she said. “I was told I had no authority or right to put out a survey about administration when I’m not part of the administration. This was news to me, as I was appointed as jail administrator by the previous sheriff.”

Dencklau was appointed jail administrator in July 2020 by former Webster County Sheriff Jim Stubbs.

“I was terminated with a spotless record,” Dencklau said. “I was stripped away from my job and the job that I enjoyed and I’m very good at.”

Dencklau said she wasn’t asking for her job back, but said that she believes she should have her accrued vacation time paid out. She said she had been given the opportunity to resign, but refused because she said she did nothing wrong.

Perry, whose resignation was also approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, also spoke in front of the board. She said that she has also been told that although her title is assistant jail administrator, that she is not in administration.

“To me, that was kind of a kick in the face,” she said.

Webster County Sheriff’s Office Detective Tom Steck stood up at the end of the meeting in support of Fleener.

“Luke’s leadership is second to none,” Steck said. “He goes above and beyond with every aspect of communication, policing, maintenance of the jail, all of that. … I’ve never been more proud of being a law enforcement officer than under Luke.”

County officials are not allowed to publicly discuss human resources matters, Webster County Attorney Darren Driscoll told The Messenger.

“It’s true that she was for quite some time a very valued employee, but the termination was appropriate for the reasons stated by the sheriff,” Driscoll said.

Corrections Officer Brody Goodman will serve as the interim jail administrator until a permanent replacement is hired.


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