Acting Tulsa County Sheriff Involved In Heated Argument Over Budget
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Tulsa County’s acting sheriff and chief deputy are retiring; both Rick Weigel and John Bowman planned to stay at the sheriff's office until a new sheriff was elected in April.
Chief Deputy Michelle Robinette, who oversees the jail, is now acting sheriff; she is the first woman to hold that position.
Bowman said he and Weigel had been thinking about retiring to spend more time with family, and decided to give their notice Tuesday.
"He said he had spent the weekend with his grandkids and by the end of the weekend, he realized he spent all that time worrying about his job and couldn't remember any of the time he spent with his family. He thought there is something inherently wrong with the situation where you can't enjoy his day," Bowman said.
Tuesday was Bowman's last day and Weigel will stay on for two more weeks.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said, "Weigel reluctantly, but willingly, stepped into a very difficult circumstance, and his long-term service to our community should be honored."
A day before they announced their decision to retire, Weigel and Bowman were involved in a heated argument over the sheriff’s budget.
The budget is tight - so tight, the Tulsa County district attorney said there are concerns there isn't enough funding for the sheriff's office to finish this fiscal year.
A jail medical contract payment is overdue and there isn't enough money to build the training center - the one the sheriff's office broke ground on in 2014 that would bear former sheriff Stanley Glanz's name.
These are among the concerns Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo said caused him to call a meeting Monday with Weigel, Bowman and other members of the sheriff's office.
Smaligo said it came to his attention that the sheriff's cash fee fund, a fund controlled by the sheriff, is tight, and they're only halfway through the fiscal year.
As a result, Weigel cut a bonus for employees, called for a review of positions at the jail and halted construction on the training center. The next day, Tuesday, Weigel and Bowman confirmed they will retire.
"It has been a tough time for us and a tough time for a lot of people here and we appreciate all the help we've gotten," he said.
Smaligo said the sheriff's office is taking steps to correct some of its spending choices.
Deputies we talked to are upset they aren't getting the bonus, as many said they haven't had a raise in years.