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War of words before May election

, Posted: Thu, May 15 2014 at 6:35 PM, Updated: Fri, May 16 2014 at 10:23 PM

Grants Pass, Ore. --  Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson accuses commissioner Simon Hare of telling him he would transfer money away from the sheriff's department to convince voters to pass a public safety levy in 2012.

Commissioner Hare denied that and told NBC 5 News partner, the Grants Pass Daily Courier he doesn't recall that conversation, and doing that wouldn't even be possible.

According Gilbertson, Hare said he was going to take $500,000 from the sheriff's department and allocate the funds to the district attorney and juvenile justice, in an effort to convince voters to pass a public safety levy.

According to Rosemary Padgett, Josephine County's financial officer, what Gilbertson alleges isn't even possible, only the entire board of commissioners could do that.

Padgett says the county did move money back into the sheriff's department, but only after the public safety levy failed.

The war of words picked up steam last week, after the Grants Pass Daily Courier published a story about the allegations.

Gilbertson says he felt like their story questioned  the accuracy of his statements, so he took action.

"I decided to pay for a polygraph, a lie detector test," Gilbertson said.

Gilbertson says he passed that test. 

As both men come up for re-election next week, voters in Josephine County will also consider another public safety levy.

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