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Nebraska County Corrections Officials Fired

Nebraska County Corrections Officials Fired

Hall County, Nebraska corrections director Fred Ruiz and assistant director Jimmy Vann were fired on August 20, 2015 after the county board met with special investigators hired to review management and operational concerns at the Hall County jail.

The investigation began after long-time jail Sgt. Debb Rea retired and submitted a letter describing her concerns about the facility to board members. She wrote that she was forced to step down due to illegal conduct at the jail; following four hours of closed-door meetings, Ruiz and Vann were relieved of their duties. Four former jail employees, with 71 years of combined experience, attended the board meetings to show their support, all saying they had left their jobs due to management issues under Ruiz and Vann.

One of the employees said Ruiz had told him that in order to get ahead he would have to “kiss the ring.” Another former worker alleged that under the leadership of Ruiz and Vann, the jail had become a “good old boys’ club.”

Randy Houser, who was appointed interim director at the jail after Ruiz and Vann were terminated, quit only a week after he was hired on August 26, 2015; he was to serve for three to six months while a search for a permanent director was conducted.

An anonymous letter sent to the board questioned Houser’s management style in light of the fact that his son is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. Houser denied that his son’s incarceration affected his ability to act as the jail’s interim director.

“I believe I have more insight than the average person who doesn’t have a family member that’s incarcerated, but it doesn’t change my attitude,” he said.

The county’s search for a replacement jail director continues.

Sources:, Associated Press


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