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Highway employee charged in harassment case

A St. Croix County Highway Department employee has been charged with telephone harassment in connection with threatening phone calls made to a fellow employee following a pay for performance meeting.

Kenneth Lyle Gregg, 61, Ellsworth, made an initial appearance before Judge Scott Needham Jan. 3 on two misdemeanor counts of telephone harassment and pleaded innocent to the charges.

The criminal complaint alleged Ken Crotty of the highway department received a series of messages from Gregg Dec. 12-17 he considered threatening while on the job.

The complaint said the calls started after a meeting at the highway department to discuss the county's pay for performance plan. Gregg allegedly threatened Crotty with a "blanket party" in one message. The voicemail messages from Crotty's cell phone were recorded and transcribed by the sheriff's department.

Gregg posted a $1,000 signature bond with conditions that he have no contact with Crotty or county personnel and facilities except as related to his employment, according to court records.

Judge Needham set a pre-trial conference for Feb. 7 and jury trial April 16-17.

The county highway department referred all questions on Gregg's employment status to the human resources department.

Human Resources Director Tammy Funk said Monday, "The county does not have a comment on this matter at this time."