Former Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Larry Pierce is no longer with the department. He was terminated but may apply to rejoin the department when an opening occurs.
The chain of events leading to his termination involves laws of the State of Indiana and began three years ago.
In Indiana, the County Sheriff is an elected office.
Indiana statute IC 36-8-10-5 through 5.5 states that the sheriff has complete authority over the appointment of persons to several positions within their administration, one of which is the position of chief deputy, according to Sheriff Mike Heaton.
The Sheriff's job is not a guarantee of employment once the elected term is completed, and neither is the position of chief deputy.
Sheriff Rob Carter's resignation earlier in the month to accept a position within Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration led to a unique situation.
The Republican Party had to appoint the replacement for Sheriff Carter since he was a Republican on the ballot in the 2002 election. On March 19 the caucus selected Mike Heaton to fill the remaining term until the next election in 2006.
With a new administration comes personnel changes, and Sheriff Mike Heaton appointed Deputy Doug Barr to replace the former Chief Deputy Larry Pierce.
The administrative/ supervisory position will put Barr in a position to step into the role of Sheriff if Heaton is unavailable and make comments on his behalf while handling the operational aspects of the Clay County Sheriff's Department.
Pierce, appointed by former Sheriff Carter in 2002, held a non-merited position in the department and was terminated. But he has the option of applying for an opening in the Sheriff's Department as a deputy through the normal channels of the merit board.