SIOUX CITY | After the abrupt resignation of an employee after one week on the job, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved hiring Nia Key as the new jail alternative coordinator for a three-county entity.

"We had a start and a stop with a person who didn't go through with relocation," Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor said at a board meeting.

Woodbury County since July 2014 has partnered with Plymouth and Sioux counties to create the Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services group, in a reorganized state mental health system to serve low-income residents with mental, intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In recent months, Sioux Rivers and Woodbury County officials have been pleased to work toward creating the jail alternative coordinator job, in order to address jail inmates who have mental illness issues. The goal is to take such people out of the jails and get them health providers for their issues.

As they launched the new position, officials of the counties and Sioux Rivers hired Jason Franklin on May 1. However, after working one week, Franklin turned in his resignation, Woodbury County Human Resources Department Director Ed Gilliland said in an interview.

That was a surprising development, since Franklin was only the second person to quit so quickly over the years Gilliland has been director. He said Franklin had resided and worked in the Quad Cities, Iowa, area most of his life, and "realized he would not deal well with leaving his lifelong home."

Key was not at the meeting. She will be paid the same salary as Franklin agreed to, $53,000.

Gilliland said Key is highly qualified, having a master's in social work from Temple University and extensive work experience with programs in the Detroit and Philadelphia areas.

"She will be a great addition," Taylor said.

Gilliland added, "The purpose of this position is to help transition people from a jail setting to one in which they are productive members of society."

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County and education reporter

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