McMullen leaves job in midst of suspicion

Monday, September 29th 2008, 11:04 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

CHICKASHA, Okla. -- After the Grady County sheriff lost in his primary, he said he won't continue his job through January as planned.

Sheriff Kieren McMullen said he plans to leave his position Tuesday.

The District Attorney filed a request Monday for an investigative audit into the Sheriff's Department as well as the Grady County Criminal Justice Authority.

McMullen said he may be leaving his job, but he has nothing to hide.

McMullen reflects packed up his office in boxes, ready for his departure which comes as questions about his actions make front page news again.

"I'm tired of it," McMullen said. "It's just time to do something else."

In the letters, sent to the State Auditor Monday, District Attorney Bret Burns requested an investigation into possible misappropriation of money, falsification of employment records at the Sheriff's Department, and more.

Burns also wanted the Criminal Justice Authority audited as well, stating mandatory audits haven't been filed since 2005.

"That's a totally inaccurate statement," McMullen said. "The jail authority does audits annually it is now a subset of Grady County Industrial Authority and is done as part of their audit."

The request indicated the Industrial Authority hasn't filed an audit since 2006, and much of the audit requests stem from questions about how comp time is handled.

The County Employee Handbook indicates comp time should be given instead of paying overtime up to a certain number of hours.

"Anything they accrue over 480 should be paid in cash," McMullen said. "We haven't always done that."

He said the reason for that is it's more cost effective to try to get employees to take time off than pay for the time and believes the handbook to be guidelines not rule.

Recently, the Sheriff said he paid out about $9000 combined to two employees, Robert Cacy and Delmer Barthelme, who were set to leave.

"When someone leaves, then we owe them for time worked and we pay them for time worked," McMullen said.

McMullen said he welcomes an audit, and called the state auditor's office himself Monday.

Cacy and Delmer, whose comp time is being questioned, and the Sheriff are facing illegal gambling-related charges.

The charges stem from the 2006 raid on the Chickasha Elks Lodge.