New Ottawa County Leadership Promises Change
David Dean and Steven Chasteen to replace Jeremy Floyd and Chad Masterson in Ottawa County.
OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. – “I believe the residents of this county spoke, and they’re wanting something different.” says Ottawa County Sheriff-Elect David Dean. “We’re willing to work our butts off to give it to em.”
Change. That’s what Ottawa County Residents made clear they want by electing two new county leaders.
David Dean will replace Jeremy Floyd as the Ottawa County Sheriff, and Steven Chasteen will replace Chad Masterson as the District 2 Commissioner.
“It’s very humbling [to be elected], especially since I would be the first Republican in the history of Ottawa County that will sit on this board. It’s pretty amazing,” says Chasteen.
Steven Chasteen has been in the heavy construction industry for more than 25 years, started his own company several years ago, and says his decision to run for office was driven by the community.
“We have high taxes, bad roads, lack of transparency in our government, and it just wasn’t acceptable for me to not step up and try to do something,” says Chasteen. “When you have two very important parts of our local government obviously not communicating and obviously not working together, but yet they’re all still spending our money and kind of making a mockery of each other, that’s not acceptable to any of us.”
During his campaign, Chasteen has made promises to improve roads and bridges in a fiscally responsible way and increase transparency and communication between the commission and residents in Ottawa County. Working closely with Sheriff Dean will also be a high priority.
“From day one, we’re gonna sit down and make sure that everybody understands where the money comes from, the process from which the county gets the revenue, the process in which you ask to spend money, and the process in which you do get to spend the money,” says Chasteen. “We’re all gonna sit down and sign off on the policies and procedures, and hold each other accountable to it. Then on a weekly basis, we’re gonna sit down with the sheriff’s department and go over issues at the jail and issues within the budget at the sheriff’s office. So that the board of county commissioners, and myself especially, are not surprised when things are coming up so that there’s that dialogue from day one.”
Commissioner Russell Earls says he’s more than willing to work with both Chasteen and Dean when they take office in January. Earls has been a commissioner for 22 years and has seen several elected officials come and go.
“There is sometimes a need for change. Absolutely,” says Earls. “But the one thing that I always go back to is I’ve watched it statewide where citizens get into a cycle of changing every two or four years. And if you’re not careful, you go behind. It just depends on the situation of course. Sometimes you need change.”
Both Chasteen and Dean decided to file for office because of the need for change they saw in the community. Something that stems from issues with the sheriff’s office, and how it was handled by the county.
Residents have been pushing for transparency from the county for more than a year. Those calls came after the county called for an investigative audit for the Sheriff’s Office in January 2019, and budget concerns at the sheriff’s office that spanned more than a year. At the time, Sheriff Floyd said many of the issues were caused by budget limitations put on him by the county commission. But the commission, then and now, say that’s not the case.
“We worked hard to help the previous sheriff with his budget, finding extra dollars, and he did have some success with it,” says Earls.
Dean says he is dedicated to getting more deputies on the streets, and making sure they can get more people hired in the jail by making it the most secure building in the county, even with budgetary restraints.
“Sheriff’s are broke, jails everywhere aren’t in the greatest shape, but everybody seems to be able to work it,” says Dean. “Working with these other agencies… Seneca, Missouri… Newton County… working with the county sheriffs around us at different towns. Our tribal agencies. Just being able to work together as a team because everybody working together is what makes everybody safer.”
He says even now, he’s talking with sheriffs in other counties to see how they operate.
But when it comes to discussing operations in Ottawa County with Sheriff Floyd, Dean says, “I’ll talk to Floyd when I need to. I’m gonna be requesting an incoming audit. I’m not sure if he will be requesting an exit audit. But, I’ll see him when I need to see him.”
Both newly elected officials plan to hit the ground running to make sure they can bring about the change that community members want.
“This community deserves to be represented by people that understand that they are the CEO’s of this county, not those that are elected,” says Chasteen.
Jeremy Floyd and Chad Masterson were both elected to their positions in 2016 and took office in 2017.
Past stories related to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and Jail, as well as county budget concerns that caused both candidates to run:
https://www.koamnewsnow.com/ottawa-county-jail-evacuated-after-fire/ – October 21, 2019.
https://www.koamnewsnow.com/new-surveillance-video-released-in-ottawa-county-lawsuit/ – January 30, 2020.
https://www.koamnewsnow.com/riot-breaks-out-at-the-ottawa-county-jail/ – July 3, 2020.
https://www.koamnewsnow.com/manhunt-underway-for-two-escaped-ottawa-county-inmates/ – October 9, 2020.
https://www.koamnewsnow.com/dean-wins-ottawa-county-sheriff-seat/ – November 4, 2020.