UPDATED: Terry King resigns, will run for sheriff
ALPENA –Alpena County County Undersheriff Terry King resigned today when given the choice of stepping down or being fired after a weeks-long internal investigation over alleged misconduct.
King announced today he would run for sheriff in 2020.
The undersheriff, a 22-year veteran of the county, has been on a paid suspension for more than 11 weeks while the Alpena County Sheriff’s Office investigated alleged misconduct. Both King and Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski have refused to specificy what King was accused of doing.
In a statement issued today, King claims his discipline stemmed from his “good-faith reporting of regulatory violations that “I sought to have addressed.”
Kieliszewski said today the internal investigation revealed no misconduct, but “there were several matters where I’ll just say there was a lack of judgement.” He refused to provide specifics.
The county delivered the resign-or-be-fired ultimatum to King during a closed-door meeting today attended by King and his attorneys, Kieliszewski, and county board Chairman Brad McRoberts.
The undersheriff decided to quit.
Kieliszewski said the matter has been emotional for him, because he considers King his friend and he has worked with him for 14 years. In the end, however, Kieliszewski said there were enough facts gathered to have King removed from the department.
“This has been extremely difficult for me to look into,” the sheriff said. “I owed him the benefit of the doubt and I wanted to take my time and not be in a rush. I owed that to him. In the end, however, it became clear that we were no longer on the same page.”
King was suspended with pay early in April. At that time, Kieliszewski said the investigation had already been underway. Over the course of the suspension, the county paid King a total of $13,837 in salary.
Kieliszewski said there was no compensation package tied to King’s resignation.
“He is eligible for retirement, and I’ll just leave it at that,” Kieliszewski said.
Kieliszewski noted King was an at-will employee who could be terminated at any time and for any reason.
Asked if and when any details of the investigation may be made public, Kielizewski said the information is now in the hands of the county’s attorney, John Gretzinger.
It will be up to Gretzinger to decide what to release, Kielizewski said.
“I have taken great pride over the years in serving this community with honesty and integrity,” King wrote in his statement. “I have come to believe that the sheriff no longer shares those values with me.
“I look forward to the voters of Alpena County that I am the best candidate for sheriff in 2020,” he added.
Kieliszewski said a search for a new undersheriff will begin soon, but there is no time table for an appointment.
“I’m not going to be in any hurry for that,” he said. “I have to get over this, first.”