Legality Of Holding County Treasurer’s Office While Serving As Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy Questioned
By Echo Menges
It has been brought to the attention of The Edina Sentinel by members of the community, who do not want their names released, that Knox County Treasurer Allen Gudehus is in violation of a state law by being a Reserve Knox County Deputy and holding the elected position of Knox County Treasurer.
Missouri Revised Statute 54.040.2 states: No sheriff, marshal, clerk or collector or the deputy of any such officer, shall be eligible to the office of treasurer of any county.
Gudehus, was sworn in as a Reserve Deputy at the Knox County Courthouse by Knox County Sheriff Mike Kite on Friday, October 21, 2011 and has held both titles, Knox County Treasurer and Reserve Deputy, since then.
According to Assistant Knox County Prosecutor Jo Fortney it is up to the county prosecutor’s office or the state Attorney General’s office to enforce the statute, which applies to every county treasurer in the state.
“It could be the basis of a civil lawsuit to remove the treasurer from office,” said Fortney, “which we do not intend to do.”
Gudehus released a statement to the Sentinel on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 saying, “I volunteered to serve as an unpaid Reserve Deputy when Sheriff Kite’s Department was short on personnel approximately six months ago. During the past six months Sheriff Kite has asked me very few times for any assistance. I do not feel there is any conflict of interest serving as treasurer and a reserve deputy since no compensation is involved. However, since this is an election year and one of my opposing candidates is concerned about this, I have asked Sheriff Kite to remove my name from the reserve deputy position. I look forward to run for the office of sheriff and want no issue to stand in the way.”
When Sheriff Kite was contacted about the issue he stated, “He didn’t ask me to take him off, he asked me if I want to take him off, and I don’t.”
“It’s up to the Sheriff to submit a list to the Department of Public Safety of their certified officers,” stated Gudehus.
Gudehus, who is also a candidate for the office of Knox County Sheriff, has worked as a Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy in the past, beginning in January of 1989 and ending in March of 1994. Gudehus stated he also has a “Peace Officer’s License” reissued by the Missouri Department of Public Safety on January 19, 2011.
“I was certified from 1989 to when I was elected Treasurer, which was in the mid 1990’s, then I surrendered it when I was elected Treasurer,” said Gudehus. “I was reinstated in January of 2011.”
According to Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Program Manager Jeremy Spratt, Gudehus “has a valid class B license and is currently commissioned with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office as a Reserve Officer. The difference between an officer and a reserve officer is one works less than 30 hours a week. As far as authority a reserve officer is the same as a regular officer.”
“Remedying the violation is very simple, which would be to resign from one of the conflicting positions,” said Fortney.