Bon Homme deputy is fired, but wins sheriff race

Bon Homme County polls had been closed for one minute when Sheriff Lenny Gramkow fired the deputy who later defeated him in a landslide vote in Tuesday's Republican Primary.

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Bon Homme County polls had been closed for one minute when Sheriff Lenny Gramkow fired the deputy who later defeated him in a landslide vote in Tuesday's Republican Primary.

Former Deputy Sheriff Mark Maggs won by a tally of 878 to 331, or 73 percent to 27 percent.

Maggs will almost certainly win the general election in November and take charge of the sheriff's office in January. Bon Homme has 2,033 Republican voters, 1,246 Democrats and 619 independents.

Attempts on Wednesday to contact Gramkow at his Tyndall office were unsuccessful. Maggs said he first wants to speak with the Bon Homme County Commission before commenting publicly.

Maggs posted a photo of the official termination notice Tuesday night on his Facebook page: "June 5, 2018, 1901 hours (7:01 p.m.)


"Mark Maggs: This letter is to inform you that effective immediately you are terminated from the position of deputy sheriff for Bon Homme County. As of this moment you are no longer an employee of Bon Homme County. Please turn in all equipment belonging to Bon Homme County by 5 p.m. on June 6, 2018."

The notice was signed Lenny Gramkow, Bon Homme County Sheriff.

Bon Homme County Commissioner Russell Jelsma said Wednesday that Sheriff Lenny Gramkow has the authority to fire his deputies.

"It's happened in other cases," he said.

The county board was scheduled to meet Thursday, he said.

"I'm sure it will be discussed," Jelsma said.

Jelsma did not want to comment on any possible outcomes prior to the meeting.

In terms of explaining the overwhelming victory, Jelsma guessed that it was because of greater involvement by the younger generation.


"It seems like all the sudden the younger people are wanting to get out and vote," he said. "It never used to happen."

Maggs, on his Facebook page, based his campaign on two issues, rising local drug use and poor relationships with area law enforcement and emergency officials.

On drugs, Jelsma said, "It's a problem everywhere. There's just a little bit more of it going on than there used to be."

On the issue of relationships with area police and emergency workers, Jelsma said he had heard comments but couldn't speak to any issues firsthand.

"The board will get together tomorrow," he said, "and we'll see where it goes from there."

Bon Homme County, population 7,200, lies west of Yankton County along a section of Missouri River where it forms the boundary with Nebraska.

According to campaign literature, Maggs has been a Bon Homme County Deputy Sheriff since March 2013. He graduated from Penn State University in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in crime, law and justice, and he earned his law enforcement certificate from South Dakota Law Enforcement Training in 2014. He is married and has four children, all younger than 7.

Gramkow's Facebook page had been disabled Wednesday.


According to his LinkedIn profile, he graduated from Avon High School, joined the Bon Homme County Sheriff's Office in 2005 and became sheriff in 2013.

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