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Commission, sheriff tackle lack of trust at final budget review

Posted 10/11/16 (Tue)

Commission, sheriff tackle lack of trust at final budget review

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

Disputes over Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger’s budgetary autonomy came to a head last week at the McKenzie County Board of Commissioners’ meeting where the county’s final 2017 budget was approved after tense discussion of a perceived lack of trust.
Schwartzenberger, who has questioned why he must bring bills before the board to be paid after earlier approval, asked commissioners why his office must fall in line like other county departments when it comes to expenses, to which Acting State’s Attorney Todd Schwarz cited North Dakota Century Code 11-11-11 and an Attorney General’s opinion that commissioners must approve expenditures before they’re paid.
The sheriff said he thought Schwarz’s references were “scripted,” to which Schwarz said he took offense.
“That’s a choice,” Schwartzenberger replied.
Schwarz also said commissioners cannot tell an elected official how to do their job, and it is the commissioners’ “affirmative duty ... to approve every dime that’s spent.”

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