UPDATE (6:54 p..m.) – Mineral County Commissioner Roman Zylawy said because of a Montana statute, the undersheriff will assume the sheriff responsibilities until the commissioners appoint someone to fill the position.

According to Zylawy, the commissioners are waiting to see if other candidates come forward. If not, the current undersheriff, Mike Boone, will be appointed until the end of Bauer’s term.

Bauer resigned with a year left in office, which ends December 2018.

Once the position is filled, the new sheriff will pick from a pool of deputies to fill the undersheriff’s responsibilities.

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SUPERIOR – Mineral County is not only without a functioning jail but now without a sheriff.

Sheriff Tom Bauer has resigned from his duties as the county works to find a way to reopen the jail that closed on Oct. 27 after safety concerns arose over the diminishing number of detention officers.

Mineral County Commissioner Roman Zylawy said Bauer’s resignation came four hours before an important meeting where the jail committee made recommendations to reopen the facility.

The committee is recommending the hiring of a jail administrator who would answer to the Mineral County Commissioners, obtain inmates, train new jailers and balance the budget.

However, to help pay for the new position, committee members have recommended that a vacant deputy position not be filled. While there would be some safety concerns with one less deputy, Zylawy said a possible grant opportunity could solve this problem.

“We would apply for a Cops Grant which Mineral County is eligible for currently and hopefully receive it in which the federal government pays for three years of a deputy,” Zylawy said. “That hopefully would happen in months of the jail administrator going into place. We would hopefully only be without a deputy for four to five months.“

Zylawy said Sheriff Bauer’s sudden resignation forced commissioners to make an addition to their meeting’s agenda — one to discuss the undersheriff assuming new responsibilities.

MTN’s Kent Luetzen