Commission rejects proposals to change sheriff’s compensation
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Two proposed resolutions relating to Sheriff Greg Bartlett’s annual salary and the disposition of funds which the state makes available to him for feeding prisoners were rejected at a recent meeting of the Morgan County Commission.
The first resolution proposed a salary increase for the sheriff at some level between his current pay of $63,247 and $90,000.
The second resolution proposed a local bill requiring the sheriff to turn over excess prisoner food money to the county commission. It would require the sheriff to continue to feed the inmates as he is presently doing, with the exception that all excess money, including money for federal prisoners, would be given to the commission. The county, in turn, would be liable to feed the prisoners if funds were not sufficient to purchase food. The new law should allow the sheriff to have on hand a sufficient amount of money to purchase needed food. Any excess over $15,000 should be turned over to the commission on a monthly, quarterly or whatever pay period plan the commission feels appropriate.
Currently, the sheriff is permitted to keep any food money not used.
District 4 Commissioner Stacey George pushed strongly for both measures; however, his motions on both counts to get them on the table for a vote failed for the lack of a second.
District 9 State Representative Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle, notified the commission by letter that he would welcome a unanimous resolution from the county governing body seeking a local act to divert excess prisoner food money from the sheriff to the county’s general fund, along with a resolution to increase the sheriff’s annual salary.
George argued the people he represents don’t approve of the sheriff being compensated with leftover prisoner food money.
Commissioner Ken Livingston said it’s not the role of the county to address the issue.
George said the people of Morgan County “want this changed.”
“I’ve had people tell me the excess money from feeding the prisoners shouldn’t be taken away from the sheriff,” Livingston replied.
George said. “I fear the people. I told Rep. Grantland that this wouldn’t pass because you fear the retaliation of the sheriff.”