Less than six months on the job, Monica Zeigel has been terminated as director of the Atchison County Community Corrections, effective immediately.
Atchison County commissioners unanimously voted to terminate Zeigel for misleading and omitting reasons as provided to commissioners and Atchison County Community Corrections advisory boards. The action was taken before commissioners adjourned their meeting Tuesday, March 14.
The action followed a discussion between commissioners and Zeigel concerning the information provided about pay scales and the Community Corrections budget for the juvenile and adult corrections probation officers as well as the director. Zeigel presented documents to commissioners that included legislative guidelines and minutes from both the Atchison County Community Corrections adult and juvenile advisory boards.
Commissioners agreed, and they approved the budgets for the county departments, Commissioners allege Zeigel had informed the advisory board members that commissioners had conveyed to her they would approve whatever advisory boards would approve.
Commissioners confronted Zeigel about the discrepancy, and she admitted she did so due to her misunderstanding of the process. Zeigel also said had incorrectly applied a higher pay scale in regard to the salary level.
Commissioner Alen Reavis represents the commission on both boards.
Chairwoman Casey Quinn said she had sent a notification in December to county department heads to remind them about the upcoming 2024 budget season that will start in April. Said in early February, she was receiving notification about the salary discussions at advisory board meetings.
Quinn said she would entertain a motion to terminate based on not being honest, misleading, and omitting information to give to commissioners.
Reavis agreed. He described the matrix of pay scales and information as being misleading and there were no numbers in the formula.
Quinn proceeded to make the motion, and Reavis seconded it.
”As a leader I think the transparency of information and accuracy are very important,” Quinn said.
Prior to Zeigel’s termination, there were a total of seven executive sessions. One of these was a 20-minute session related to the Atchison County Road and Bridge Department with Superintendent Joe Snyder, Human Resource Director Jodi Moore, and County Counselor Patrick Henderson. Two other 10-minute sessions involved Interim Administrator David Mercier, Atchison Senior Village, Moore, and Henderson.
One 20-minute session was a discussion between Moore and the commissioners.
Sheriff Jack Laurie, County Attorney Sherri Becker, Moore and Henderson visited with commissioners for 40 minutes which was extended an additional 10 minutes to discuss a personnel matter.
Zeigel was initially appointed to serve as director of Community Corrections on Oct. 11, 2022, according to an Atchison Globe news report. Zeigel’s starting salary was $64,468. She came to the position with 15 years of experience in the criminal justice field and earned a master’s degree in the field of criminal justice from Northwest Missouri State University /Liberty University.
Zeigel is a native of Graham, Missouri, the Globe reported.