County Commission Reconsidering Sheriff's Department Cuts

There is an outcry from Choctaw County, Ala., about the elimination of jobs in the sheriff's department.

Last week, county commissioners voted to cut all part-time positions to save money. But it turns out that the out-of-work employees could be back on the job.

"I just kind of feel that our office is being picked on," said Sheriff James Lovette said at Tuesday's county commission meeting.

Commissioners say that's not true.

"Before we cut any departments, we cut ourselves. Since 2007, we've been taking cuts with the county commissioners each year," said Commissioner C.D. "Bud" Ruffin.

"We've turned down one request that the sheriff's department has made within the last three years," said Commissioner Henry Lovette.

According to commissioners, the elimination of the part-time positions was due to budgetary restraints. Although now dealing with a tight budget, in response to the sheriff's request, commissioners agreed to take it into consideration.

"I'm not exactly sure whether we'll take it up in a work session or whether we'll take it up in another meeting," said Probate Judge D'Wayne May, chairman of the Choctaw County Commission.

As for addressing the sheriff's concerns about a $20,000 overtime budget for this year, commissioners say it's the same amount that the department has had in the past. In order to increase the monthly allotment for that he says the sheriff must first get approval from the commission.

"The monies are there. It's up to you all to control it," said Commissioner Tony Cherry. "Once we see our way through and see the light, we're going to make adjustments to make things easy for every department."

The board's next meeting is Oct. 13 at 9 a.m.

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