Columbia County Commissioners have elected to wait on selecting a candidate for county sheriff until a public forum is held.
The county Republican Party presented the commissioners with a ranked list of two names to fill the position, which will be vacated when current sheriff Walt Hessler retires at the end of June.
Rocky Miller, the current state trooper for Dayton, was listed first. Jeffery Jenkins, a sheriff’s deputy, was second.
After a half-hour long executive session to discuss the candidates, the commissioners decided to set a date for a public forum.
“Let’s gather some information on our own and make our own decision,” said Commissioner Charles Reeves, expressing his desire for the board to conduct candidate interviews.
Commissioners Reeves and Dwight Robanske also noted that state law does not say the party should provide a ranked list of candidates. Former Party Chair Dwight Richter said that the party bylaws specify that candidates should be ranked. The purpose of that bylaw is to allow the party to provide the commissioners with their opinions about the candidates’ merits.
The commissioners unanimously voted to hold a public forum 7 p.m. Thursday in the Columbia County Courthouse.