- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

NOWATA, Okla. (AP) - Nowata County Commissioners are accepting applications for interim sheriff until the end of March and expecting to select someone early next month.

Sheriff Rick Miller stepped down last week, saying in his resignation letter that he couldn’t “take the stress any longer,” the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2mxVh8O ) reported.

The interim sheriff will serve until voters elect a new sheriff for the northeastern Oklahoma county in 2018 to fill the second half of Miller’s four-year term. Miller’s term ends Dec. 31, 2020.

This comes as the sheriff’s office faces financial debt and employee turnover. Records show 25 employees hired during Miller’s tenure have left the department.

Commissioners on Wednesday approved the hiring of four sheriff’s office personnel and discussed the office’s debt.

County Clerk Chris Freeman told commissioners Monday that she couldn’t “coherently” figure out the amount because the sheriff’s office spent money without first creating purchasing orders.

On Monday, commissioners signed off on several claims for payment from the sheriff’s office and accepted Miller’s resignation. They also accepted a $7,000 donation from the Cherokee Nation on behalf of the sheriff’s office to “cover needs of the department.”

Commissioner Curtis Barnes said they will be taking an extra step to review the department’s financial statements daily to make sure the agency is spending within its budget, through correct procedures and out of appropriate accounts.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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