On Tuesday, Sept. 15, I posted a topic, “Short Eyes,” describing a day in my life in work release. On Friday, Sept. 18, I received a call at work from Sgt. Severson, the work release facility commander. She said she was “concerned.”
When I asked why, she said I had violated the conditions of work release by posting a blog about it and by not notifying work release when I was changing location while out at work. After a few seconds of my attempting to ascertain how that was, and her brooking no discussion, she said, “We’ll talk about it Monday morning.
I was informed when I checked in that evening that I was going to be held in (not allowed to go to work Saturday and Sunday) over the weekend. She hadn’t mentioned that little point on the phone. Monday, Sgt. Severson was out sick. Tuesday, I was called into her office where she, between sniffles and coughs, asked about my photography reference in the blog post. I explained that was the principal part of my job. She said I hadn’t mentioned that when I had told them about my work.
She also said that it was important for the WRF people to know where I was every second of the time I was away from the facility; the blog post mentioned my having made 55 sales calls. I said that I had talked to her about that issue at orientation, and that she had told me that I should call in whenever I changed location. I had asked, “Do you really want me to call in every five minutes to let you know I am going to move a block from my current location?” She had said, “Well, just have a cell phone with you, so we can check on you.”
That meeting ended with her saying, “You’ll have to wait in the facility while I talk to your boss.” Some time later that day she called Randee Peterson at BlackHills.com and verified that everything I said about my work was true. Sometime after noon she called me back to the office and told me that. She also said that since it was after noon it didn’t make much sense for me to go to work that day, despite the fact that I could have made more sales calls in Rapid City. She also said that I should make a better distinction between the words “calls,” which could mean phone calls, and actual "visits" to a potential customer.
Thus, having informed me that being held away from my job for four days was probably sufficient punishment for having done nothing wrong, I would be allowed to return to work on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Eleven days later I completed that part of my debt to society and was released. I am still on probation and under a gag order, unable to speak publicly about a serious societal disease until July 6, 2010.