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Holton to be appointed Sheriff


By Michael Howell

Barring any unforeseen developments, Undersheriff Steve Holton will be sworn in as Sheriff following the resignation of Sheriff Chris Hoffman at the end of the year. At a meeting last Monday, November 21, the County Commissioners considered taking action to either appoint an Interim Sheriff or possibly advertise for the position that will come open when Sheriff Hoffman turns in his badge in order to take a seat on the Board of County Commissioners.

Hoffman was present at the meeting and recommended appointing Undersheriff Steve Holton as his replacement. According to Hoffman, he plans on submitting his resignation by noon on December 27 in order to be sworn in as commissioner on December 30. Hoffman is replacing longstanding commissioner J.R. Iman who he handily defeated in the primary election last spring. Hoffman ran uncontested in the November election.

Hoffman said that it was no secret that he was recommending Holton for the job.

“He has my recommendation and I am confident that he can carry out the job,” said Hoffman. He said that by appointing Holton it would provide for a smooth transition at the Sheriff’s Office by giving him a year to take care of business without having to spend time on electioneering.

If appointed as Sheriff, Holton would serve out the two remaining years of Hoffman’s term before facing elections in 2018.

“We want a transition that will be the least upsetting as possible,” said Hoffman, “and I suggest appointing Steve Holton to finish out my term.”

Commissioner Doug Schallenberger said, “I feel the same as the Sheriff. I’d like to see the thing move smoothly and quickly.”

“That’s what I think as well,” chimed in Commissioner Jeff Burrows.

“I’ve known Steve Holton for 16 years and watched him rise through the ranks,” said Commissioner Greg Chilcott. “He has my confidence. I think the deputies respect him. It will make for a seamless transition.”

“The Sheriff has done a good job preparing for this transition,” said Commissioner Iman. “Steve is qualified. He has served as second in command for a long time.”

Commission Chair Ray Hawk said that his only concern was the potential perception that they were making a “good ole boy” decision, without opening up the position to the public or other deputies.

“I have no problem with Steve, but I’d rather do it through a public process,” said Hawk. “That’s my opinion.”

Hoffman said that the commission would be criticized no matter what decision they made on the issue and advocated again for Holton’s appointment.

“The most asked question I got when I ran for the commissioner position was ‘Is someone ready to take over as Sheriff?’” he said. “My answer was yes, without equivocation.”

It was agreed to wait until December 30 to make the appointment.

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