City approves agreement with sheriff’s department

At a special meeting held Monday, April 10, the Montgomery City Council approved an agreement with the Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Department for “Police Department Supervision” for a three-month period. 
 
The city has been without an official Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) since the termination of former police chief John Schmidt on March 30 and needed to bring one on in the interim. Sergeant Pete Bulger has been the supervisor in charge since that time. 
 
The city staff contacted Sheriff David Tietz about the possibility of providing supervision for a temporary period. Tietz and Chief Deputy Brett Mason, who will be taking over as interim sheriff when Tietz retires April 28, said they would be willing to do this and put together an agreement to provide department management for three months. 
The agreement will cost the city $24,000 for the three-month period (hourly rate of $50 per hour on a full-time basis or 480 hours). 
 
An alternative to the agreement would have been finding a retired or semi-re tired licensed peace officer to serve as interim chief. Another would have been to temporarily appoint Sergeant Bulger as acting chief.
 
Mayor John Grimm opened the meeting Monday night by stating the purpose was to consider the agreement with the county. He said public comment on that subject would be welcomed, of which there were several from the 25 people present. 
 
Tom Eisert said, “What are the issues mentioned earlier by Deputy Mason?” 
 
Mason and Sheriff Tietz, who were present at the meeting, said the primary issue is a police department without a CLEO. Tietz added that his department will need to pay overtime in order to provide the necessary coverage in Montgomery. 
 
City Attorney Tim Warnemunde said, “This is a 90-day contract to provide leadership and supervision, not replacing the Montgomery department.” 
 
He added that he included a section in the agreement dealing with early termination if the city feels this arrangement is not working. The agreement may be terminated without penalty upon five business days written notice to the sheriff’s department. 
 
Prior to Monday’s meeting, Heck was asked if Schmidt has filed an appeal. “We have received a letter from Schmidt asking the council to reconsider the decision to terminate his contract,” Heck said. 
 
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