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GERING — The Scotts Bluff County Commissioners have settled, to the tune of $150,000, a claim with a former assistant director of the county’s detention center.

During the board’s Sept. 16 meeting, the Scotts Bluff County Board of Commissioners voted to settle what the agenda called “threatened litigation.” The Star-Herald requested documentation regarding the settlement agreement at Monday’s meeting, but the terms of the settlement weren’t released until Tuesday. A “settlement agreement and general release” was released to the media, outlining the terms of the settlement.

In the agreement, commissioners agreed to pay former corrections employee Patricia Erny, known as Patricia Miller, $150,000 to waive and release her claim.

In the settlement, Erny acknowledges the release isn’t intended to prevent her “from filing or maintaining a statutory claim concerning employment with the County or the termination thereof with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, or a comparable state or local agency.”

Not included in the documents released to the media was a tort claim or threat to sue, which could be as simple as a letter from the plaintiff’s attorney stating the allegations giving rise to potential litigation.

Both the county clerk and human resources director said there was no tort claim against the county prior to when the board went into closed session to consider a settlement.

Commission Chairman Ken Meyer said the settlement agreement was the document the board worked from when discussing terms, adding no other information would be released.

Erny’s attorney was listed as Fiedler Law Firm, with offices in both Nebraska and Iowa. According to the firm’s website, their primary focus is to represent “individuals who need help because they’ve been fired, harassed, or experienced other problems at work.”

The Star-Herald reached out to Erny’s law firm, who had not yet responded to a request for comment before press time.

The Star-Herald is in the process of filing a public record request for additional details.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at

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