OK Co. Sheriff Candidate Says He's Being Punished For Running Against His Boss

Wednesday, August 9th 2017, 4:00 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Mike Hanson says he knew he would be getting some flak for running for sheriff against his boss. But he says he didn't realize it would be this bad.

When Maurice Pendleton, an inmate at the Oklahoma County Jail, was murdered there last month, deputy and candidate for sheriff Mike Hanson took to Facebook, posting: "Get the dang major, Captains and all other supervisors off their respective butts and start making the rest of the jail staff work along side (sic) the bosses."

Now he says he's paying for it.

Hanson says he had planned on taking all of August and part of September off to campaign for the September 12th election. But he says acting sheriff P.D. Taylor, who is running against Hanson, called. 

"He stated that he was upset about what I had said on Facebook and that it was talking bad about employees in the sheriff's office and if that’s the way I was going to run my campaign then I just needed to start my time off," Hanson recalled.

Hanson says this isn't the first problem he's had since announcing his candidacy. 

"It's been mentioned to me that if I drop out, I would be able to keep my job,” Hanson said. “I spoke with P.D. Taylor about that and he vowed that that would never be said again."

Taylor said, "So my management approach, I immediately called him, told him on the phone it’s not true, it's just a rumor."

As for asking Hanson to take an earlier vacation, Taylor says, "He started publicly commenting on how he was going to start firing certain people, he was naming individuals, he was naming classes of employees here and he attacked one group of employees, supervisors in the jail, threatening that he was going to fire them all," Taylor said. "I said 'You've already been approved for a lengthy vacation. I would like to suggest to you that you start your vacation maybe ten days earlier.'"

Hanson says he’s being targeted because he’s a candidate. "A lot of employees have posted much worse things about the sheriff's office and the sheriff and various other things and nothing's happened to them. But because we're in an election and because I'm running for sheriff I believe that that is why I was dealt with."