October 18, 2016

Commissioners to ask governor for sheriff’s removal

Commissioners to ask governor for sheriff’s removal

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

Following an investigation into workplace bullying and retaliation claims, McKenzie County Commissioners voted unanimously last week to petition the governor for Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger’s removal.
Following commissioners’ executive session at their Oct. 13 special meeting, Acting State’s Attorney Todd Schwarz will  prepare the petition before submission to Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s office pending commissioners’ final review.
Commissioners also voted unanimously to take disciplinary action against Lt. Michael Schmitz, which could include termination. Their motion also required him to surrender all county property to the sheriff by Friday evening, Oct. 14.
The commissioners’ motion also placed Schmitz on unpaid administrative leave as of Sunday, Oct. 16, but Schwartzenberger has not accepted that decision, he said, and Schmitz continues “in the office, doing administrative duties.”

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