After 38 years of serving in Hillsdale County, Sheriff Timothy J. Parker submitted his letter of resignation on July 13, 2020, six months before his term was set to expire. Undersheriff Carl Albright will complete the term, which ends Dec. 31.
“There are many new challenges facing the next sheriff of Hillsdale County,” Parker said in his resignation letter. “I do not wish to be a ‘lame duck’ sheriff that makes critical decisions that will have a serious impact on the budget and the men and women who serve our county at the sheriff’s office.”
Parker’s statement did not specify his reason for resigning, but the Hillsdale County Prosecuting Attorney Neal Brady offered some clarity.
“Parker did not give any reasons for his decision not to seek a second term,” Brady said. “But he did say he was making it effective on Aug. 7, so that the winner of the primary would be able to start early without any interference from the current administration during the finalization of the 2021 budget.”
On Aug. 10, Probate Judge Michell Bianchi, Brady, and County Clerk Marney Kast met for an informational meeting to outline the acting sheriff’s new role. Michigan Statute 51.72 states that the undersheriff takes the position of the sheriff in the circumstance of vacancy in the office of sheriff.
“Undersheriff Carl Albright assumes the duties of sheriff, but not the title, and keeps them until the new sheriff is elected and qualified,” Brady said. “Since he works at the will of the sheriff, his job as undersheriff will also end when the new sheriff is elected.”
It is currently unclear whether Albright will finish out the entirety of Parker’s term. Bianchi said that Albright may submit his own resignation. In this case, Brady, Bianchi, and Kast would meet again to discuss who takes his place.
“Until the new sheriff is sworn in, Albright will fill in,” Bianchi said. “Albright could not continue into the next term even if he wanted to unless we appointed him, but the new sheriff will take his place on January 1.”
Once the elected sheriff takes office, Albright will move back to undersheriff unless the sheriff hires someone new.
“Albright could continue to be undersheriff,” Bianchi said. “Or the incoming sheriff could name a different undersheriff, but I’m sure he would keep him as an officer at least in some capacity.”
With the upcoming sheriff election, Brady said he believes the resignation and new sheriff will still create a forward-looking attitude within the county.
“The new sheriff will suggest that Parker’s resignation will affect the community in a positive way because it will allow the infusion of new energy, new ideas, and an immediate critical evaluation with solutions to problems that previously were not addressed,” Brady said.
As Parker steps down from office, Brady emphasized the great work he accomplished in the community.
“One thing is without dispute, however,” Brady said. “The department will be without the experience of two people that combined have roughly 75 years of wisdom, training, and lessons to draw from. It is hard to argue that such an exodus of knowledge is good for any department and therefore the community.”