Murray County Sheriff Steve Telkamp responds to request for termination
SLAYTON - After the Murray County Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to ask for the resignation of Sheriff Steve Telkamp due to a hostile work environment, Telkamp fired back, sending out a statement late Tuesday evening.
"I am going to seek re-election as sheriff of Murray County and continue to provide the same services which I have always done with limited resources that the County Board and County Coordinator, Aurora Heard, have given me," Telkamp wrote. "I will always support my staff when they are threatened or mistreated. The stress and hostility that the County Commissioners have caused my staff is unjust."
Telkamp claims that the video on which the board based their request for termination is him venting to his staff over the attempts by the board and Heard to control the sheriff's office. In the video, Telkamp says Heard is involved in illegal activities, and if he could prove it, he would throw her to the ground and arrest her. During his expletive-filled rants, he threatens the job of an employee who is related to one of the commissioners, calls the commissioners numerous foul names, makes gender-based remarks against Heard and states he will not follow policy because, "This is my house!"
In his response, Telkamp apologizes for his behavior in the videos, stating he becomes passionate when the board and coordinator were retaliating against employees in his office. He claims that during what he terms an "illegal open meeting," Heard and commissioners were discussing terminating employees, eliminating staff and reducing salaries to decrease the sheriff's office budget.
Telkamp claims he is committed to the community and county, and has a history of long-term employment of staff at the sheriff's office. While the commissioners claim Telkamp is creating a hostile work environment and showing unprofessional conduct, the sheriff states it is the commissioners and Heard who are making Murray County an undesirable place to work. He states he hopes the citizens of the county will not judge his 16 year career on a 7-minute video "they put together."
The Board plans to discuss and vote on the retention of an operational director for the Sheriff’s Department. If approved, this person would be the point of contact on all personnel and operational matters in the Sheriff’s Department, including the oversight of dispatch operations. They authorized the Board Chair to sign a contract with Municipal Solutions and for the Personnel Committee to work with the labor attorney to recommend a candidate to the Board, and approved a motion that arrangements be made to provide for 24/7 security coverage at the Sheriff’s Department for as long as necessary to avoid Telkamp's retaliation.