Sheriff TJ McDermott Discusses Human Rights Bureau Decision – Reelection – Captains Overtime Pay
Following the decision handed down on Tuesday in favor of Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott over former captain Josh Clark, KGVO News spoke with the sheriff on a variety of subjects.
Regarding the Human Rights Bureau decision, McDermott said he was pleased with the ruling.
"We're very pleased with the results," McDermott said. "The ruling that there was no discrimination and the actions taken were within the law. The decision was unanimous by the Human Rights Commission, and at some point it will be nice to put this issue behind us and get on with the important work we have to do."
Clark claimed there was political discrimination by McDermott when he did not appoint Clark to a captain's position following the election. Clark staged a write-in campaign, but lost in the 2014 general election.
McDermott also confirmed that he would be seeking reelection in 2018.
"I intend to seek reelection," he said. "I'm very pleased and honored to the the sheriff here in Missoula. We've accomplished a lot of great things for the department by increasing staffing levels. In the first year, we replaced a lot of necessary equipment. Our patrol fleet's now on a five year, 100,000 mile replacement plan, every deputy has has an updated ballistic vest, and I'm happy to report that every deputy now has a body camera, so we've dome some great work already."
McDermott also discussed a recent article in the Missoulian dealing with thousands of dollars in overtime pay for captains and other administrative staff.
"It is true that our captains now receive overtime for any hours they work at a time and-a-half rate," he said. "It's important to note, though, that historically, captains have been able to receive overtime for work associated with coroner duties, or for other programs and agencies where that overtime pay is reimbursed."
McDermott said this past weekend provided a good example of how much overtime was required of the entire department.
"It involved lightning strikes, wildland fires, search and rescue operations for a couple of floaters that ran into an emergency," he said. "Then, the two traffic fatalities which required the administrative officers to come out and assist with coroner duties as well as commanding those search and rescue operations. The actions I took to provide overtime for them I feel were warranted and they need to be properly compensated. When something like that happens, it's super-important to have the captains or even the undersheriff out there to supervise."
McDermott also compared the pay differences between his department and the Missoula City Police Department.
"Our captains, even with making overtime, are still probably paid less than the captains at the police department for the same type of responsibilities," he said. "It's a story that the Missoulian chose to run with, but the numbers are there and we are just trying to be transparent and provide that information to the community."
McDermott was elected to office in 2014.