No questions at meeting on bargaining agreement

2014-03-11T20:57:00Z 2014-03-11T23:53:30Z No questions at meeting on bargaining agreementBy MIKE FERGUSON mferguson@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Yellowstone County sheriff’s deputies had no questions Tuesday evening on the updated proposed collective-bargaining agreement presented to them earlier in the day.

Sheriff Mike Linder and a pair of commissioners, Jim Reno and John Ostlund, said they were present to answer any questions about the updated document.

But one deputy did make her feelings known to Linder, the man she hopes to succeed as sheriff following the November election.

Valerie Juhl, who has announced her intention to run against Linder as an independent, accused the sheriff of “bargaining against us” and called Tuesday’s meeting “out of line” and “inappropriate.”

She then distributed ride-along forms to the elected officials present. “You obviously don’t know our jobs,” she said, a job that sometimes includes “bullets whizzing by” fellow deputies’ heads.

When she placed a form in front of Linder, the sheriff laid it aside.

“I think I know this job very well,” he said.

After Juhl departed the meeting — which lasted about six minutes — Reno said, “You can tell it’s the political season. That was Politics 101.”

After Reno asked once last time for any questions on the document and none were forthcoming, officials called an end to the brief event, held in a meeting room at the Yellowstone County Courthouse.

Afterward, Linder said he believes that “I’ve proven that I am there for them every time duty has called.”

“I don’t need a ride-along form,” Linder said. “I’ve waded through the water on river rescues and responded to burglaries in progress. I think sometimes people forget that.”

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