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Crow Wing County Sheriff Deputy Pickar leaves post after agreement with the county

According to the agreement, Pat Pickar expressed interest in separating from his employment with Crow Wing County. The agreement means Pickar will not be able to be on the county’s payroll at any time in the future.

Pat Pickar
Pat Pickar, file photo.
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Pat Pickar, who was defeated by Sheriff Scott Goddard in the November 2018 election, was paid close to $46,000 to leave his deputy position with the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

Pickar’s last day of employment with the sheriff’s office was May 28. Pickar has been with the sheriff's office since 1997. He currently works part time as a police officer for the Pequot Lakes Police Department and is also deputy chief for the Cuyuna Police Department, where he supervises six police officers.

Pickar’s departure from the sheriff’s office comes after two internal affairs complaints were made against him in May 2019 and September 2020. The May 2019 complaint resulted in no disciplinary action and the 2020 complaint was investigated and closed without a finding, following the completion of the separation agreement.

Pickar signed a separation agreement — entered between his union, Crow Wing County Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc.; himself; and the county — on June 1. County officials signed off on the agreement June 7.

According to the separation agreement, Pickar expressed interest in separating from his employment with the county. The agreement also means Pickar will not be able to be on the county’s payroll at any time in the future.

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Both parties agreed to resolve all potential issues through the separation agreement to avoid potential arbitration, litigation costs and any further disputes “which would be expensive and time consuming, that may in any way arise out of Pickar’s employment with the County and his separation from employment with the County,” the agreement stated.

“Sometimes I think it is just in everyone’s best interests to separate,” County Administrator Tim Houle stated in an email regarding the separation agreement. “Sometimes it’s best to shake hands, wish each other well and walk away. Everyone has their own reasons for agreeing to this and, because of data privacy restrictions, I must leave it at that.”

Pickar also provided an email statement:

“I have focused my law enforcement career on building relationships in the community and trying to collaborate with other community resources on the needs within Crow Wing County. It’s sad that politics is getting in the way,” he wrote. “In a time where there is anti-cop rhetoric and those that want to defund the police, I can’t believe we as deputies have to worry about bullying, harassment and retaliation from an elected sheriff and his administration against those that didn’t support him. The real focus should be on working together to make a safer Crow Wing County for all those that live and visit here.”

Responding to Pickar’s accusations, Goddard said, “A baseless attack doesn’t surprise me. I’m not going to delve into it beyond that.”

Goddard said because of the unique situation where both he and Pickar were both sheriff candidates at one time, the sheriff’s office relied heavily on the county’s human resources department.

“We wanted to make sure this was complete and ensure there were no biases,” Goddard said. “We did this as openly as we possibly could, but a lot of issues are personnel related so not a lot of comments can be made (because of data privacy laws).”

Separation agreement details

  • The county will pay Pickar five months salary in a lump sum totaling $29.303.

  • Pickar will be compensated for his accrued and unused paid time off amounting to $15,938.27.

  • Pickar will be compensated for his accrued and unused compensatory time amounting to $557.89.

  • The county agrees to provide Pickar a letter of reference for future potential employers.

  • Upon separation from employment, the county will rescind and remove Pickar’s 12 day suspension from his file. Pickar will not be entitled to nor receive any back wages for the 12-day suspension. The county also will remove his paid administrative leave notice dated Oct. 5, 2020, and all other documents regarding the current investigation from his personnel file.

  • The county will cease its current investigation into Pickar’s conduct involving an incident on or about Sept. 24, 2020, and the case will be closed without a finding.

  • The county will make its normal monthly contribution toward Pickar’s health insurance premium and his Health Savings Account until he reaches the age of 50.

  • Once Pickar reaches age 50, the county will provide him with retiree health insurance until age 65.

  • The county will allow Pickar to keep his county-issued bulletproof vest.

In the agreement, Pickar and the county both agreed that neither side violated any policy, contract, state, federal or local statute or ordinance, administrative regulation or had “done any wrongdoing whatsoever, the same being expressly denied.”
Pickar also will not bring any lawsuits, claims or make any demands against the county and he agreed to not seek any other monetary damages or other relief.

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JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at jennifer.kraus@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.
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