Budget Cuts Impact Choctaw County Sheriff's Dept.

Sheriff's deputies in Choctaw County, Ala., say they're being forced to work double and triple shifts, because of budget cuts.

The Choctaw County Commission made the decision to eliminate all the department's part-time positions, and curtail overtime.

"A lot of things they do don't make any sense," said Choctaw County Sheriff James Lovette of the commission's decision.

"How many of these other offices in the county have had to have layoffs? I think some of the commissioners may have had to lay off one person, but I don't know of any other office in the courthouse that has had to lay off any people except the sheriff's office," Lovette said.

Lovette says the laying off of those four employees, along with a previous decision not to fill a once-vacant office spot within the department, has it desperately shorthanded.

"We've got our patrolling job to do," the sheriff said. "We answer calls and now we have the paperwork to do as far as serving all the paperwork in the county."

"They say it's a lack of money but then we've got four commissioners who make $38,224.44 a year for a part-time job, which is classified as a part-time job in the state of Alabama," said Lovette. "They get their vehicle furnished."

Along with the elimination of the positions, Sheriff Lovette says commissioners have voted to reduce his overtime budget for the new fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, by $8,000.

"They set $20,000 for next year for overtime for my people and they say if we go over it they're not going to pay it," said Lovette. "They're going to pay it! The court may have to force them to pay it but it says you pay overtime."

According to the sheriff, this issue is far from over. His next step is presenting the issue to commissioners at their next meeting, Oct. 6 at 9 a.m. Lovette said he plans to ask the commission to reconsider.

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  • by John on Oct 4, 2009 at 08:29 PM
    Why is it that people always try to play the race card? Race had not even been mentioned in this entire thing until the last comment. Until you know what is going on please don't make stupid comments that you have no idea about. Could the reason that the Sheriff kept a white part time deputy over an African American one be because the white one was retired and could work at all times while the African American deputy already has a full time job and could only work on weekends? Also on the scheduling part of it how is it possible for 5 deputies to work the whole week without any of them getting overtime, look at a calendar there is too many hours in a week for that to happen. Just remember people when you need help at 4 in the morning its not the Probate Judge that comes to help, and its not the commissioners, its the Sheriff and his deputies.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 3, 2009 at 11:48 AM
    Sheriff had no problem cutting black deputies position-and replacing it with the now white part timer. Overtime - try re-working your schedule. Half the time they only answer the calls that they want to and serving papers has never been a priority on this new sheriff's dept---next time you get pulled over for speeding see how many officers are responding--I say cut the sheriff's dept -- he can have another fundraiser like the rodeo and the next time a car is needed -just take turns using the drug cars=
  • by mm Location: philly on Oct 2, 2009 at 10:08 AM
    You can't just decide you don't need commissioners/supervisors and do away with them. these positions are established by state laws. the same state law that establishes the salary for these positions. Commissioners/supervisors can't just decide what they want to be paid. You can though, as voting citizens decide who you want to hold these positions and mostly, in the past, it has been based on the good ole boy / buddy system. Voters need to start looking at qualifications not just faces. Also, the sheriff is an elected position and is responsible to the voters also. They should understand tha they too, have to operate under a budget just like everyone else and learn how to do it!!! If they need more then they should tell the people how much more TAX MONEY they are going to need. Some public heads just want to spend and then say, "well the supervisors raised your taxes, not me"!!
  • by Lisa on Oct 1, 2009 at 11:16 PM
    I thought our goverment was supposed to be for the people and by the people. What has happened to our county? Ever since Probate Judge Charles sold our hospital and made our county go broke, nothing has been the same. Is this probate Judge any better? I don't think so, do you? I believe that the people should be able to vote on such big matters and decions as to the "Sherrifs Dept." and their budget. Choctaw County money needs to go somewhere profitable, because it sure isn't going on any county roads, not with all the pot holes I and others have to continuously dodge. By the way folks, have you driven on Arrat Rd. lately or on Bailey Rd. or on Land Rd? I don't recall the roads ever being this bad, back in the "70's". Why do we need County Commissioners at all.....after all, I guess we can just keep dodging pot holes all over the county until someone has a serious wreck, death or injury. I sure wish, that, someone would plz run for Probate Judge, win and make a big difference for us.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 1, 2009 at 05:36 PM
    How can the Commissioners and judge do this to the sheriffs dept.half the commissoners trucks has expired tags.and evertime you look up the probate Judge is at Country club playing Golf
  • by Anonymous on Oct 1, 2009 at 03:46 PM
    they need to vote all the commissoners out.Including the sheriffs Brother who runs District 4.Probate Judge is a Idiot.
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