Sher­iff takes on New­ton Com­mis­sion

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH [email protected]­

Sher­iff Ezell Brown called on the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers (BOC) to con­sider rais­ing taxes in or­der to ad­e­quately fund pub­lic safety at Wed­nes­day night’s BOC bud­get work ses­sion..

“I’m not a pro­po­nent of rais­ing taxes by any means,” he said. “But I’m will­ing to pay to en­sure that the cit­i­zens of this county get the ser­vice that they need.”

He also called on com­mis­sion­ers to live up to their cam­paign prom­ises to sup­port law en­force­ment.

“You cam­paigned that you were go­ing to sup­port law en­force­ment, you were go­ing to sup­port pub­lic safety. I urge each and ev­ery last one of you, give the cit­i­zens what they de­serve, give the cit­i­zens what they need. Give the em­ploy­ees what they need.”

Say­ing that the jail is the county’s largest sin­gle li­a­bil­ity, Brown told com­mis­sion­ers that low pay is im­pact­ing his abil­ity to re­tain deputies. He said that his of­fice is spend­ing $1 mil­lion in over­time.

“We have em­ploy­ees leav­ing my of­fice, 3 to 5 a month, some­times 3 a week,” he said. ”Not be­cause of the con­di­tions, not be­cause of morale. It’s sim­ply be­cause of the pay.”

“I can stand here and go on and on telling you about our needs, but I can as­sure you, not one of you can work un­der the con­di­tions that we’re cur­rently work­ing un­der,” he said.

New­ton County Clerk of Courts Linda Hays, who said her of­fice is also un­der staffed, agreed with Brown.

“I have to staff the court­room ev­ery time

court is in ses­sion. We have court ev­ery day. Some­times we have three court­rooms go­ing. The sher­iff has to staff ev­ery court­room. We have no choice,” she said.

Hays said her bud­get has been the same since 2009.

“I would just echo the sher­iff’s words and en­cour­age you please, keep your prom­ises. Do some­thing for our em­ploy­ees. Help us do our jobs bet­ter.”

Com­mis­sion­ers said that tak­ing care of em­ploy­ees is a top pri­or­ity.

The BOC will con­duct its last sched­uled bud­get work ses­sion Wed­nes­day, May 24 at 6 p.m. at the New­ton County His­toric Court­house.


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