Schaaf to step down as Perry County Sheriff Sept. 30

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News Directors Note: In an effort to be completely transparent and due to conflicting reports we are publishing the original press release from the Perry County Commissioners and the original social media post from the Perry County Sheriffs Office on page 8A. Below is an assessment of the situation.

A fixture in Perry County is stepping down at the end of the month.
Perry County Sheriff Gary Schaaf will officially retire from the position which he has held for more than 40 years.
Perry County Sheriff Gary Schaaf announced on Tuesday he would be retiring his post prior to the end of his elected term of office. The Perry County Commission accepted the sheriff’s resignation on Monday, September 19 during their regular scheduled meeting.
Schaaf’s resignation is effective at 11:59 pm, September 30. Schaaf’s current term of office would conclude on December 31, 2024.
“It is with mixed emotions that I come to the people of our community today,” Schaaf said in a Facebook post on Sept. 20. “I began my law enforcement career over 40 years ago.”
That career started as Deputy Sheriff under Schaaf’s then predecessor Franklin “Dutch” Schmidt in 1982.
Schaaf went on to run for City Marshal and Chief of Police in Perryville in 1986 and won reelection twice. After that he ran for Perry County Sheriff in 1992 and took office in January 1993. He is currently serving his eighth term.
“The people of this community have shown me overwhelming support throughout my law enforcement career, and I appreciate it very deeply. This has been a great community to grow up in, to get married and raise a family in, to spend my career in, and to spend my life in. You have supported me through eleven elections,” Schaaf said. “But time marches on, and as much as I may enjoy the job certain things have happened recently that make me look at where I am, and where I should go from here.”
Perry County Presiding Commissioner Mike Sauer praised Sheriff Schaaf for his dedicated service to the community as a law enforcement agent.
“On behalf of the commission, we want to thank Gary for years of service to Perry County,” Sauer said. “We appreciate the sacrifices he and his family have made for the department over the last 30 years as sheriff, and we wish him well in his retirement.”
In December 2018, Schaaf filed a case against the county concerning his wages and back pay dating back to 1997. The suit alleged that the county commissioners have not properly adjusted his salary according to state-mandated guidelines for more than two decades.
The suit sought more than $25,000 plus interest and asks the court to compel the commission to set Schaaf’s salary at the proper amount according to state law. The petition filed on Dec. 28, 2018 by Schaaf’s attorney, John Loesel of Jackson, states that Schaaf should have been paid a salary of $46,000 in 1997, but was only paid $32,116.17 and that all further salary adjustments he has received were based off that incorrect total.
The case was set to go to trail at the end of the month.
“When the offer of mediation was made to me in an effort to settle this case before going through the expense and time involved in a jury trial,” Schaaf said. “I agreed to attend this mediation session and before it was over the county and I had reached an agreement, but it was contingent upon my retiring from the office of Sheriff of Perry County.”
Schaaf called the meditation an “attractive offer.”
“Now, when I ran for office this last time, I fully intended to complete the term although I had determined it would be my last,” Schaaf said. “Then the offer was made in Mediation, and I had to step back look at where I am at this point. Someone in county administration must really want me to retire because they made an attractive offer to settle my lawsuit in mediation. I am confident that I would have prevailed in my litigation, but it was an attractive offer. However, they insisted I retire on September 30 for some reason and would not even consider a different date. I had wanted to stay in this office until my full retirement age for purposes of Social Security, which would have made my retirement date December 31, but they insisted on the September 30 date.”
Sheriff Schaaf used the Perry County Sheriff’s Office official social media page to announce his departure. Sauer said the commission would offer little comment on the matter of Schaaf’s resignation, or the lawsuit the sheriff brought against Perry County in 2018.
“Although his official resignation was signed

on Monday, out of respect for Sheriff Schaaf, it was the intention of the commission to allow Gary the first opportunity to announce his departure,” Sauer said. “He has faithfully served his post as a law enforcement agent and earned the right to tell the public in the way he saw fit that he was stepping down. We are aware of the narrative Gary has painted regarding his resignation, but in an effort to protect his privacy, we offer no further comment on the terms of his resignation.”
Schaaf noted in the social media post that he would make a recommendation for his replacement in the coming days.
“The Commissioners have asked that I make a recommendation to them for my replacement, and we discussed options and procedures. They will have my recommendation before I retire. I promise to leave the community in good hands,” Schaaf said.
However, the Perry County Commission has a different plan.
The Perry County Commission will appoint an individual to serve as interim sheriff to serve in Schaaf’s vacancy. Sauer said the commission is taking advisement from multiple agencies and internal law enforcement sources on what individual would best serve the role temporarily, while they investigate the most recent state law on how the next sheriff is selected.
Should the appointment of an interim sheriff not occur immediately following the midnight deadline on September 30, per Missouri State Statute, the county coroner assumes the responsibilities of the sheriff until a commission-appointed individual is sworn in as acting sheriff. William Bohnert is the current coroner for Perry County. Bohnert was first elected in 2016 after a lengthy career in law enforcement.
“It is our intention to fill the vacancy as soon we can feasibly and legally do so,” Commissioner Sauer said. “We can’t appoint someone new until the current sheriff is officially no longer serving.”
To serve as sheriff, an individual must be able to meet the following requirements:
•No felony convictions
•Resident taxpayer and Registered Voter of the county
•Resident of the county for more than 1 year before filing for office
•Capable of efficient law enforcement
•Has a valid peace office license at the time of filing for office
•Citizen of the United States
•Resident of the state 1 year next preceding election
•Is not delinquent in the payment of any state income taxes, personal property taxes, municipal taxes, real property taxes on the place of residence as stated in the declaration of candidacy
•Is not a past or present corporate officer of any fee office that owes any taxes to the state
Schaaf is grateful for his time as Sheriff.
“It’s been a great ride folks, and I appreciate you more than you will ever know.”

Press Release from Perry County Commissioners Office

Perry County Sheriff Gary Schaaf announced on Tuesday he would be retiring his post prior to the end of his elected term of office. The Perry County Commission accepted the sheriff’s resignation on Monday, September 19 during their regular scheduled meeting.
Schaaf’s resignation is effective at 11:59 pm, September 30. Schaaf’s current term of office would conclude on December 31, 2024.
Perry County Presiding Commissioner Mike Sauer praised Sheriff Schaaf for his dedicated service to the community as a law enforcement agent.
“On behalf of the commission, we want to thank Gary for years of service to Perry County,” Sauer said. “We appreciate the sacrifices he and his family have made for the department over the last 30 years as sheriff, and we wish him well in his retirement.”
Beginning his law enforcement career in 1982, Schaaf first took office January of 1993 after serving three terms as City Marshal for the City of Perryville, and over the next three decades, went on to handily win eight terms as sheriff.
Sheriff Schaaf used the Perry County Sheriff’s Office official social media page to announce his departure. Sauer said the commission would offer little comment on the matter of Schaaf’s resignation, or the lawsuit the sheriff brought against Perry County in 2018.
“Although his official resignation was signed on Monday, out of respect for Sheriff Schaaf, it was the intention of the commission to allow Gary the first opportunity to announce his departure,” Sauer said. “He has faithfully served his post as a law enforcement agent and earned the right to tell the public in the way he saw fit that he was stepping down. We are aware of the narrative Gary has painted regarding his resignation, but in an effort to protect his privacy, we offer no further comment on the terms of his resignation.”
Sauer went on to say the county was moving on to the next chapter.
“The county is grateful to put the last four years of court proceedings to rest,” he said. “We have done what we felt was in the best interest of the community, and we are looking towards the future and striving for a positive outcome for Perry County as well as Gary Schaaf.”
The Perry County Commission will appoint an individual to serve as interim sheriff to serve in Schaaf’s vacancy. Sauer said the commission is taking advisement from multiple agencies and internal law enforcement sources on what individual would best serve the role temporarily, while they investigate the most recent state law on how the next sheriff is selected.
Should the appointment of an interim sheriff not occur immediately following the midnight deadline on September 30, per Missouri State Statute, the county coroner assumes the responsibilities of the sheriff until a commission-appointed individual is sworn in as acting sheriff. William Bohnert is the current coroner for Perry County. Bohnert was first elected in 2016 after a lengthy career in law enforcement.
“It is our intention to fill the vacancy as soon we can feasibly and legally do so,” Commissioner Sauer said. “We can’t appoint someone new until the current sheriff is officially no longer serving.”
To serve as sheriff, an individual must be able to meet the following requirements:
•No felony convictions
•Resident taxpayer and Registered Voter of the county
•Resident of the county for more than 1 year before filing for office
•Capable of efficient law enforcement
•Has a valid peace office license at the time of filing for office
•Citizen of the United States
•Resident of the state 1 year next preceding election
•Is not delinquent in the payment of any state income taxes, personal property taxes, municipal taxes, real property taxes on the place of residence as stated in the declaration of candidacy
•Is not a past or present corporate officer of any fee office that owes any taxes to the state

Social Media Post From Perry County Sheriff’s Dept.

It is with mixed emotions that I come to the people of our community today. I began my law enforcement career over 40 years ago, as a Deputy Sheriff under my predecessor, Franklin “Dutch” Schmidt. That was in 1982.
In 1986 I took a big step and ran for City Marshal/Chief of Police in the city of Perryville. This was my first run for public office, and I won. I went on to win two more elections as City Marshal/Chief of Police.
In 1992 I ran for the office of Sheriff of Perry County and won that. I took office as Sheriff on January 1, 1993. I am currently on my 8th term as Sheriff of Perry County.
The people of this community have shown me overwhelming support throughout my law enforcement career, and I appreciate it very deeply. This has been a great community to grow up in, to get married and raise a family in, to spend my career in, and to spend my life in. You have supported me through eleven elections.
But time marches on, and as much as I may enjoy the job certain things have happened recently that make me look at where I am, and where I should go from here.
Some of you may remember that I was involved in litigation against the county concerning what my wages should be, and what I should have been paid going back a number of years.
My case, which was filed way back in 2018, was coming up for jury trial at the end of September, when the offer of Mediation was made to me in an effort to settle this case before going through the expense and time involved in a jury trial. I agreed to attend this Mediation session and before it was over the county and I had reached an agreement, but it was contingent upon my retiring from the office of Sheriff of Perry County.
Now, when I ran for office this last time, I fully intended to complete the term although I had determined it would be my last. Then the offer was made in Mediation, and I had to step back look at where I am at this point.
Someone in county administration must really want me to retire because they made an attractive offer to settle my lawsuit in mediation.
I am confident that I would have prevailed in my litigation, but it was an attractive offer. However, they insisted I retire on September 30 for some reason and would not even consider a different date.
I had wanted to stay in this office until my full retirement age for purposes of Social Security, which would have made my retirement date December 31, but they insisted on the September 30 date.
And so, in the fulfilment of my agreement with Perry County, I have tendered my notice to retire from the office of Sheriff of Perry County, effective at midnight, September 30, 2022.
The Commissioners have asked that I make a recommendation to them for my replacement, and we discussed options and procedures.
They will have my recommendation before I retire. I promise to leave the community in good hands.
It’s been a great ride folks, and I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

Gary J. Schaaf
Sheriff, Perry County

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