By Tim Leeds
The Hill County Sheriff's Office will be under new leadership on Dec. 1.
Sheriff Tim Solomon today submitted a letter to the Hill County Commission announcing that he will retire before the end of the year.
"I figured the timing's right for it," Solomon said.
Solomon said he has been thinking about retiring for some time. He qualified for retirement benefits seven years ago, but said in his letter that he wanted to accomplish some things before stepping down, including building the Hill County Justice Center.
The timing is partly because of benefit requirements, Solomon said. If he waits until the first of the year, he can't receive his pension until the beginning of the next year. This way, he said, he can take the Christmas holiday off, start receiving his pension after the first of the year and and start looking for a part-time job.
Solomon said he'll make more with a part-time job and pension combined than he would as sheriff.
Solomon, a 27-year veteran of the Hill County Sheriff's Office, became sheriff in 1986, winning four elections to the office's four-year term as a Democrat. His current term expires at the end of next year.
Solomon served as undersheriff before becoming sheriff.
County Commissioner Doug Kaercher was the only commissioner in the office when Solomon dropped off his letter this morning. He said he's not sure exactly what steps will be taken.
"This isn't even something we've contemplated in this office," he said. "(It's) a fairly new surprise. Tim has served the county well in his 27-year career in law enforcement."
Kaercher said 72 hours must pass before Solomon's decision becomes official. After that, he said, the commissioners will probably advertise for applicants.
"After the 72-hour period, we probably could start the process to make the transition as smoothly as possible," he said.
If a new sheriff is not appointed by Dec. 1, undersheriff Don Brostrum will act as sheriff until an appointment is made. Brostrum declined to comment about whether he is interested in applying for the job.
The position is up for election next year.
Solomon said he has visited with the commissioners about who he thinks would be a good sheriff, but hasn't made any recommendations.
Solomon also said that recent events affecting his office were not a factor in his decision.
An arbritrator recently overturned the sheriff's firing of a deputy, according to Solomon and Kaercher. Both said they couldn't release the name of the deputy.
Solomon said he has had many more difficult and irritating situations to deal with in his career, and didn't resign because of them.
Kaercher added that personnel disputes and grievances happen from time to time in county offices, and it's unfortunate that the deputy's grievance happened about the same time as Solomon's announcement.