Members of the Marshall County Council unanimously approved the 2021 Sheriff’s contract with Matt Hassel during their meeting Monday.

Sheriff Hassel then invited both councilmembers Tim Harman and Mandy Campbell to the Central Dispatch Committee meeting this Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff brought a concern to councilmembers and said he received a letter Monday morning from the full-time cook at the jail who is feeling overwhelmed.  The sheriff said he’s done a fantastic job and uses inmates’ workers to do all the hands-on cooking and delivering of food to the other inmates.

Sheriff Hassel said he has advertised three times for a part-time cook but has not had any candidates.  He said, “I will readvertise and post that position again today but if he doesn’t get assistance he’s going to retire on January 29th and that is going to put a real big bind into us.   The sheriff has been having jailers help out at times but they really are not cooks, they’re just extra staff that works with the cook to help him out.

The cook at the jail orders the food, prepares the menu and provides the recipes to the inmate workers doing the hands-on cooking and baking.

Sheriff Hassel says if he loses the cook one of his options may be to hire a food service company who would cook at their location and transport the food to the jail.  He said Saint Joseph county uses this system, but he was unsure of the cost.

Councilman Jack Roose said he was amazed that the sheriff had been able to get-along with only 1 full-time cook for so long.

The position is 4 to 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday and then fill-in when the regular cook is off.

Councilwoman Mandy Campbell said the council reduced the line item in the budget for an assistant cook since it had not been used.  She did say she would be willing to look at putting funds back into the line item to help the jail.

No action was taken by the council at the meeting.