Hoffman’s departure date still tentative

T-R photos by Lana Bradstream — Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman has accepted a job with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and will receive a significant increase in pay. He said he will miss the camaraderie with his deputies in Marshall County.

Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman will remain on the job for the coming months before he intends to commit fully to Polk County.

Hoffman announced his intention to leave on Wednesday, but his official last day has not been determined yet. He is working with his administrative team at the sheriff’s office on his duties to provide a smooth transition out. Plus, the Marshall County Board of Supervisors will need to appoint someone to take Hoffman’s place.

Supervisor Steve Salasek said such discussions have not been held by the board, and will not be at the March 2 meeting. He has some ideas as to who could fill the position, but they will have 40 days after Hoffman submits his resignation to pick someone.

“We’ve got great folks at the sheriff’s office who could fill his shoes,” Salasek said. “We will go through a hiring process.”

Hoffman agreed, saying Chief Deputy Joel Phillips would be the most obvious choice, given his history and extensive knowledge of the department.

According to Marshall County Auditor Nan Benson, an appointee by the supervisors would remain in the position until November 2022. That is when a special election — if it is called for — would be on the ballot.

In order for a special election to be held, a petition would have to be circulated and 1,828 signatures gathered. Either way, the appointee will be on the November 2022 ballot.

“They would run for a two-year term and if they are elected and decide to run again, then they would get a four-year term,” she said.

Benson said the new sheriff would not be on the November 2021 ballot because county elections are not held on odd-numbered years, which are reserved for city and school district elections.

However, until Hoffman makes his official resignation, the county cannot take any action, she said.

Even though Marshall County Sheriff has announced his intention to leave, he still plenty of work to do. On Thursday night, he goes through a stack of gun permits in his office.

Hoffman said his leaving the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office was not something he searched for — despite the very public conflict between him and supervisors Dave Thompson and Bill Patten at a Feb. 9 Board of Supervisors meeting.

“The timing of this opportunity and my pending departure is complete coincidence,” Hoffman said. “This is a significant impact to my financial security at this stage of my career and life, and it was weighed very heavily.”

Salasek said he did not feel Hoffman’s departure was personal and said more money is to be made with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are not paying as well as we should be,” he said. “More money for the sheriff’s position needs to be given serious consideration.”

Hoffman said he will receive a $50,000 pay increase by accepting the Polk County Sheriff’s Office chief position.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, due to the population of the county, is allotted four chiefs by law, and Hoffman will be one. Those chiefs are responsible for different aspects of the department, which are rotated. Hoffman’s first area of responsibility will be the Polk County Jail. He does not know how long he will oversee that aspect before he is moved to the next, but he expects it will be two years.

One thing is definite – Hoffman will miss the camaraderie he has built with the sheriff’s staff during his 27 years in the department. He will also miss the successes the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office have been able to celebrate.

“There is a lot of negative in this world,” Hoffman said. “Our successes have made an impact on people’s lives. We have helped them get free of drugs, escape violence. The highlights of this job is when someone shares their life experiences and let us know we have made a difference in their lives or futures. When someone stops you at a gas station, someone calls you by name and they do not have anything negative to say, but they want you to know they are doing well – those are positive memories.”

Even though Hoffman will leave with a lot of happy, fulfilling memories, he will also carry some bad ones. He can drive down roads and remember areas where lives have been lost.

“Many people have lost their lives on the roads, through homicides, suicides,” Hoffman said.

He will also not miss the challenge of recruiting new employees.

“It has been a challenge these last dozen years and it does not appear it will be remedied in short order,” Hoffman said.

When training new employees in the past, he would engage in CPR – Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect – and the Three F’s – Firm, Fair and Friendly – which are some things he will leave behind. Hoffman hopes to fill some positions before he officially leaves, but that may have to be something that falls on the next sheriff.

He has confidence in the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office staff to carry on with whomever will be his replacement.

“The strength of the leadership team has led me to the comfort of being able to take this position,” Hoffman said. “If I had no belief in the leadership team to carry on positively, I could not leave with a good conscience. They are a reflection of strength and the future is bright for the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.”

Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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