- Associated Press - Sunday, November 27, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - There’s a new sheriff at the state Capitol.

Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert picked up a seat in the District 32 House race on Election Day, Nov. 8, The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/2g4kZyZ ) reported. Now, he’ll just have to figure out how he’ll manage his time once the legislative session starts in January.

“I kind of function better under some stress,” he said with a laugh at his office Wednesday.

As both sheriff and legislator, Heinert plans to spend about the same amount of time shuffling between the sheriff’s department and state Capitol. With 37 years in law enforcement, he said he has a unique perspective to bring to the Legislature.

During the session, he said he still plans to go into the sheriff’s office each day. He and the department have established a protocol in which, if something were to go awry and he were needed at the office, he could be reached by text or email and then follow up with a phone call.

Most of his job there requires him to manage the budget and staffing, he said.

“Ninety percent of the issues that come up are taken care of by those three positions - the sergeants, the lieutenants, the majors. And they’re just informing me of what they’re doing,” he said.

Heinert said he’ll still be able attend every Burleigh County Commission meeting, which are typically held after hours.

“I plan on working some Saturdays to make sure bills are caught up (and the) budget is squared away. I’ll probably work just about every Saturday here at the office,” he said.

And with the new Burleigh-Morton jail getting closer to completion, Heinert said he’s at a point where he’s not required to be there as often.

“A lot of these things are going to be after hours. Meetings with staffing, meetings on training, it’s all going to be in the evening,” he said.

Still, Heinert said he’s not completely worry-free.

“I have worries because I want to make sure I do a good job on both sides,” he said. “I want to make sure I represent the people, the county, as sheriff, and I want to make sure I represent the people of District 32. I think they’ve entrusted me with that because they elected me.”

Heinert said the details are still being worked out on his pay at both jobs. As sheriff he makes $114,108 a year, and he will make $177 per day during the session as a legislator.

“When we sat down, I talked with the commissioners about how this was going to work. We really didn’t talk about (pay),” Heinert said.

Commission Chairman Brian Bitner said commissioners haven’t had an official discussion on it.

“We’ve had some conversations about it, not that that’s led to any conclusions,” he said. “Obviously, we needed to wait until he either won the election or didn’t before it would be an issue.”

Bitner said the commission will discuss the issue at an upcoming meeting.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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