Keokuk, IA – Seven employees work in the Lee County Recorder's offices in Keokuk and Fort Madison. Five are considered full-time, including Recorder Nancy Booten, while the other two work on a part-time basis.
Booten recently suspended three of her full-time employees with pay. Being so short-staffed has forced her to reduce the hours her office is open.
The Fort Madison office is now open on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Keokuk office will be the only office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Services will be offered in Fort Madison on Friday mornings and in Keokuk on Friday afternoons.
It's unclear how long the reduced hours will be in place. The county has not said when it expects an investigation into the employees' actions to be completed.
Booten says keeping the remaining employees in one location is the best option. She says her office is trying to keep up with the constant flow of documents to record.
The county has not made public the reason why the employees were suspended. Several published reports have linked the penalties to email exchanges.
The Lee County Board of Supervisors took some heat for what is going on in the Recorder's office during its recent meeting.
Keokuk realtor Tony Sargent used the public portion of the meeting to tell the board that residents who regularly use the office are suffering because of the limited hours. He asked the board if it thought about possible hard feelings by not promoting First Deputy Bev Boeding to replace outgoing Recorder Larry Holtkamp.
Chairman Rick Larkin said each supervisor had to make their own decision. Supervisor Larry Kruse said he voted for Booten because he felt she was the best person to lead the office.