Undersheriff wasn’t qualified for position

Bill Jollymore

The certifying agency for law enforcement officers said in a letter that Nez Perce County Sheriff Joe Rodriguez’s choice for undersheriff was unqualified and needed certification.

Bill Jollymore was appointed as undersheriff and served for about three months before resigning July 1. The job qualifications were rewritten to accommodate Rodriguez’s choice in Jollymore. The job description used to require an Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification for undersheriff. The undersheriff supervises the entire office and takes on sheriff’s duties in the sheriff’s absence.

In a letter sent to Rodriguez from POST Division Administrator Brad Johnson dated April 24, it was outlined — citing both Idaho Code and POST policy — that an undersheriff needs certification to serve in the position. The letter was obtained by the Lewiston Tribune through a public records request.

Rodriguez said in a news release last week that Jollymore quit to “pursue his business interests,” making no reference to POST compelling Jollymore to gain certification. Jollymore manages two restaurants in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley.

Rodriguez said Tuesday that the POST letter did not factor into Jollymore’s resignation.

“He said he had two other business ventures, that I’m not gonna talk about, that he just can’t pass up,” Rodriguez said. “You know how much Bill Jollymore saved the county in three months? He rewrote the 2020 budget with my secretary and there’s a cost saving of potentially $80,000.”

Rodriguez said the draft budget did not include any cuts to staff positions, but an overall restructuring, reducing the budget by about 2 percent.

Johnson states in the letter he was directed by POST Council — a group made up of law enforcement representatives that establishes and enforces standards for peace officers — to inform Rodriguez about the requirements for an undersheriff.

“Only an elected position at the county level is exempt from the required POST certification requirement,” the letter states.

Jollymore has more than 30 years experience as a part-time reserve officer with several Washington law enforcement agencies. Reserve officers attend a different and shortened academy than full-time, certified law enforcement officers.

The letter states that an undersheriff needs to gain POST certification within one year of employment. Rodriguez announced Jollymore’s hiring in mid-January, but Jollymore couldn’t take the position until March, once the job qualifications were rewritten.

The letter references Jollymore’s reserve status and that it may have created a conflict with POST policy and would complicate Jollymore’s work.

“All certified reserve peace officers must be under (the) supervision of a full-time peace officer,” the letter said. “The term ‘supervision’ is intended to limit the activities of a reserve peace officer.”

The reworked job qualifications gave the undersheriff “direct managerial oversight” of the office’s supervisors and employees only “if qualified.” The position could otherwise provide “general oversight” across the entire office.

Rodriguez said he has already chosen a replacement but refused to identify who it is.

“The gentleman will be here Sept. 2,” Rodriguez said. “You can just wait like everybody else. … He’s more than qualified.”

Holm may be contacted at (208) 848-2275 or tholm@lmtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomHolm4.

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