May 10, 2016

Park County jail administrator leaving, will manage Alaskan city

Park County is searching for someone new to oversee its jail, as the current administrator is becoming the city manager for a remote Alaskan town.

“I’ve just always wanted to go to Alaska,” said the departing jail administrator, Lt. Tod Larson.

Tod Larson
Larson — who ran for Park County Clerk two years ago — had served in the post since July of 2010. He’ll now help administer the affairs of Seldovia, Alaska, a city of about 255 people that must be reached by boat or plane.

Larson said Seldovia is beautiful, relying on fishing and tourism while being a popular place to retire.

The Cody High School graduate picked it over another offer to manage the city of Adak, Alaska — a similar-sized but even more remote community on the western end of the Aleutian Islands. Larson said he found Adak to be “pretty cool,” but “I just figured it’d be a little easier to get around” in Seldovia.

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward told county commissioners he hopes to replace Larson with someone within the department and that he wants them to be a certified peace officer.

Larson was not certified. That meant a lower salary and savings for the county, but Steward said it also meant the administrator generally couldn’t fill-in for detention deputies if a need arose in the jail.

“That kind of burned us a little bit,” the sheriff told commissioners last week.

If Steward finds a candidate who’s certified, that will up the county’s costs for the administrator position. However, he said that increase in salary would be more than offset by the fact that he has not replaced Lt. Dave Patterson, a Powell-based patrol supervisor who retired last year.

“My theory is we can squeak by for now without that” supervisor, Steward said, noting the county’s tight budget.

He said not having the patrol lieutenant should save around $95,000 a year in salary and benefits, though he added, “I’m going to need that position back eventually.”

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