November 1, 2016

Petition for sheriff’s removal details lack of trust

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

Documents accompanying the petition for Gov. Jack Dalrymple to remove Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger describe a series of fractures and divides between the sheriff and McKenzie County offices since he took office.
Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem received Acting State’s Attorney Todd Schwarz’s petition with exhibits to remove Schwartzenberger last week, setting forth an investigation to last up to 30 days and using Schwarz’s 302-page petition mailed Monday, Oct. 24.
Dalrymple requested an Attorney General’s recommendation for removal proceedings and possible suspension if removal proceedings are deemed necessary against Schwartzenberger, Jeff Zent, Dalrymple’s spokesman, said Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Obtained in an open records request by the McKenzie County Farmer, the petition encompasses Schwartzenberger’s time in and before taking office, detailing his time in office in testimony by McKenzie County Commissioner Vawnita Best, Sheriff’s Office efforts to improve dispatch, the criminal cases of Schwartzenberger and Lt. Michael Schmitz and awkward incidents including a confrontation with courthouse furniture movers and Schwartzenberger’s military management style.

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