A newspaper in Wisconsin has found that the community’s local sheriff has logged less than two hours in the office in 2013, and only about 22 hours since August. But he says there’s an easy explanation.
The Wausau Daily Herald reviewed public records for Marathon County Sheriff Ron Hoenisch and found he’s only used his key card to access his office at the local courthouse a total of 1.75 hours this year and 376.5 hours last year. The outlet procured the information regarding when Hoenisch’s key card was used to access the courthouse via a public records request. Here’s a summary of the findings:
The report suggests that a criminal investigation — and subsequent guilty verdict — involving Hoenisch’s wife could explain the drop off in acces near the end of 2012:
The time Hoenisch spent in his office dropped dramatically in August, when his wife, Kim, was suspended from her position as a Marathon County probation and parole agent. The Wisconsin Department of Justice began an internal investigation into allegations against Kim Hoenisch that month and filed formal charges against her Dec. 23. Kim Hoenisch, who was found guilty on charges of misconduct in public office, burglary, possession of narcotics and possession of a drug without a prescription, will be sentenced April 25.
In the six months since the investigation into his wife’s criminal activity began, Randy Hoenisch has logged 21.75 hours of work in his office, sparking concern from some local leaders.
But Hoenisch disputes the charges by saying he doesn’t use his key card and instead uses a physical key to access his office.
“This issue of me not spending time in my office came up a few years ago, and after that I started using a key,” he explained to the Daily Herald in a separate follow-up story. “I use it a lot.”
Still, he “declined to provide specific hours or information that would dispute electronic access records” and “did not say whether he routinely worked from home or another location.” The Daily Herald interviewed several other law enforcement officials who said working from home would be nearly impossible because of the demands of the job.
And despite the low logged hours, Chief Deputy Scott Parks said the department continues to run smoothly.
“I speak with the sheriff on a regular basis using either in-person, telephone or electronic means. The frequency depends on the events, incidents and situations taking place,” he told the Daily Herald. “If staff need to have their supervisors and boss hovering over them, then we have failed in making sure the right people are employed here.”
And so far, the “outrage” the Daily Herald teased in its initial story has not led to any action.
“I don’t know legally what we can do about it, but if we hear a lot of concern from the public, maybe it’s time to sit down and talk (with the sheriff),” Gary Wyman, chairman of the Marathon County Board, told the paper. “He’s an elected official, so he answers to the voter, not to me.”
“He’s an elected official, accountable to his constituents, not to me,” Marathon County Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Gina Cornell added. “I don’t believe we can get involved. I don’t believe we should.”
Hoenisch made $97,843 in 2012, the paper notes, making him one of the top four highest paid sheriffs in the state.