- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A McKenzie County sheriff’s deputy who was scheduled for a disciplinary hearing this week was fired after county officials uncovered new information they say isn’t related to his suspension in October.

Human resources manager Amanda Willis said that interim Sheriff Matthew Johansen fired Lt. Michael Schmitz on Friday, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/2j7SyRj ) reported.

Schmitz had been ordered to appear before the County Commission on Tuesday for a hearing over alleged bullying and retaliatory behavior, according to a third-party firm’s report from a workplace investigation last summer. Many of the people interviewed claimed Schmitz attempted to make changes and create high standards in the office, but was often unavailable for guidance. Some also said Schmitz was overly critical of select employees.

Willis said the reason for termination is related to something that happened during Schmitz’s three years at the sheriff’s office and that an investigation is ongoing. She declined to specify the reason for the firing.

“This was something else that came to our attention at the beginning of last week,” Willis said.

Schmitz told the newspaper last week that he didn’t know he’d been fired, and he didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The newspaper couldn’t reach Johansen for comment Tuesday.

Schmitz is also facing two misdemeanor criminal charges from 2015 after allegedly lying to investigators about his prescription pill use and a divorce case involvement. A trial for those charges is scheduled for May.


Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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