Klamath County, Oregon – Klamath County sheriff, Chris Kaber, and his two sons will keep their law enforcement jobs for the time being.
Last Wednesday, Sheriff Kaber said that the deadline for either him or his sons to quit their jobs by December 27 has been delayed.
He explained that on Tuesday, his sons, Sgt. Ryan Kaber and Deputy Erick Kaber, got an email from the HR director. The email said their jobs at Klamath County wouldn’t end on December 27.
This decision comes three months after a meeting with the Klamath County Commissioners. At that meeting, Commissioners Derrick DeGroot and Dave Henslee decided to cancel a rule from 2018. This rule let the sheriff and his sons work together in the same department.
The issue about whether the rules for county government also apply to a sheriff’s office, which is led by someone the people elect, is still unclear.
Right after the sheriff’s office shared the news, the County Commissioners released their own statement. This included findings from an investigation by Bill Carroll of Carroll Consulting, who Klamath County hired.
The statement explained that the County Commissioners had to do this investigation because of several complaints from different people. They aimed to be fair and thorough.
Before sharing the results of this internal investigation, the county got approval from everyone involved.
The statement also mentioned that the investigation aimed to check if there were any breaches of a specific 2018 resolution and any possible violations of Oregon’s Government Ethics law, ORS Chapter 244.
“Unfortunately, the investigation not only found violations of the resolution had occurred, it turned up other conflict of interest (favoritism) issues within the Sheriff’s Office,” the BOCC release said. “Thus, in order to protect all Klamath County personnel, the BOCC rescinded Resolution 2018-16.”
Bill Carroll of Carroll Consulting involvement
Bill Carroll explained in his report that his task was to examine a specific resolution.
What Carrol did was “looking at the investigation conducted by OGEC (“Oregon Government Ethics Commission)” further clarifying that he was not doing the investigation himself. Carroll’s report includes the ethics commission’s initial findings as part of the evidence.
These initial findings from the ethics commission indicated that the complaint against the county had enough basis to warrant a more in-depth investigation by the commission.
The summary of Carroll’s report also has information about what the sheriff said when he spoke to the ethics committee.
According to the Oregon law, sheriffs have a lot of power in organizing their office’s operations.
According to ORS 2016.210, titled “Authority of sheriff over organization of office,” a sheriff can completely arrange how their office works. This means that they can give work to people in different departments who are good at these tasks.
It is also written in the law that people who work for the police should cooperate with each other. People can be given other tasks to help the office run smoothly if they aren’t busy with a certain task.