Midland County now has a new acting sheriff. With a 3-2 vote in favor of Gillette, he will be taking over the position left open after the death of Gary Painter.
Gillette currently works as an investigator for the Midland County District Attorney’s Office. However, he has previously worked at the Midland Sheriff’s Office for 22 years. While many residents are fond of Gillette, when it comes to their new Sheriff, they claim Chief Deputy, Rory McKinney, was next in the line of command.
“Chief Deputy McKinney is his choice,” said Gary Painter’s daughter, Jennifer Painter. “My father trusted him wholeheartedly, and he would not have chosen him to be his Chief Deputy if he didn’t trust him to take over if anything happened to him.”
Many attended the Commissioner’s Meeting to voice their opinions. Commissioner, Luis Sanchez, says it is his job to find out the facts, listen to the public, and make a common sense decision.
“It just makes common sense that you know, Chief Deputy should’ve remained there. There should’ve been no argument about it. It should’ve just gotten done,” said Sanchez.
However, Commissioner, Randy Prude, nominated Gillette for the position. He says residents will get their time to vote on their future leader.
“The court needs to stay neutral in this particular case, because all of the men who have stepped forward and have asked to be Sheriff are good men. And rather than influencing the vote, we have chosen to let the voters make their decision on March 2nd, which I believe is the next primary.”
The courtroom quickly became heated following the announcement.
“Prude, Donley, and Ramsey don’t care what the people think. They only care what they think,” said resident, Bill McNeill. “They’re arrogant, arrogant people. I know Richard Gillette, he’s a friend of mine, he’s a good man, but what they did was wrong.”
As for the acting sheriff, he says he has big boots to fill.
“I know that, but I will be thinking about him everyday,” said Gillette. “I understand their feelings, and I just hope that they give me a chance. I will be praying to the good Lord for wisdom and guidance.”
While commissioners made their final decision, many in the audience left them with a warning.
“I just think that the commissioners need to keep in mind that elections will be coming around for themselves also,” said Phyllis Peek. Peek is a former employee at the Sheriff’s Office.