Garvin County's sheriff made it official this week as he submitted a letter showing he intends to serve through mid-July before resigning early.
Larry Rhodes said it was a difficult decision to leave office before his current term is over as the sheriff briefly addressed Garvin County commissioners during a weekly meeting Monday.
“It comes with a heavy heart that I'm here,” Rhodes said.
“It has been a great eight years. It's the hardest job being sheriff but the best job I've ever had.
“What a privilege it's been to serve the people of Garvin County.”
Rhodes became the sheriff when he won a two-year unexpired term back in November 2010. Since then he's won full terms in both 2012 and 2016 as his current term goes through next year.
The sheriff told the PV Democrat late last week he was leaving early to accept a new job as director of investigations with the Oklahoma Medical Board.
This new job centers on investigating complaints against medical doctors who are licensed through the state.
Rhodes says the job, which will not be available next year when his term is done, is what's best for him and his family at this time.
“I have an opportunity that's best for my family and it couldn't wait another 11 months. It's not an easy decision, but the opportunity was there and it was the right time.”
Commissioners were hesitant while accepting Rhodes' letter or resignation.
“Thank you for your service,” District 2 Commissioner Gary Ayers said to Rhodes.
In the letter Rhodes thanks the citizens of Garvin County who have supported him as a candidate and as sheriff.
“I humbly apologize to those who may feel I have let them down by my retirement,” he stated. “This is not my intent. I am doing what I think is best for my family and me.
“I have been fortunate to have had many opportunities during my career, but serving as Garvin County sheriff is the highest privilege I had.
“I must say a thank you to employees of the Garvin County Sheriff's Office. The office is blessed to have employees who work hard and serve with dedication around the clock.”
The sheriff did describe the office as being in “good shape” with a “highly professional, full-service sheriff's office serving all in Garvin County.”
Rhodes intends to continue serving in the office through July 14. The very next day, July 15, commissioners are expected to appoint Rhodes' replacement.
Whoever is appointed will serve the remainder of Rhodes' full term, which goes into 2020. From there the office is part of next year's regular election cycle.
A filing period is April 8-10 with a primary election date on June 30, a primary runoff date of Aug. 25 and the general election in November 2020.