Archived Story

Military leave positions resolution tabled by commission

Published 2:34pm Monday, August 13, 2012

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission tabled a resolution authorizing the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department to fill deputy positions created when two deputies reported to active military service.

Sheriff’s deputies Ken Beard and Stuart Hartley reported to military duty with the Alabama Air National Guard in late June. During the Aug. 13 county commission meeting, a resolution from the sheriff’s department requested the commission authorize the replacement of the deputies while they are on military leave.

Commissioner Lindsey Allison proposed the commission table the resolution until considering the cost in terms of the sheriff’s budget.

“I’m not voting against the military personnel,” Allison said. “This is our third year of reduced revenue. I have to see the totality of numbers of the budget process.”

Commissioner Larry Dillard said the commission should support military personnel.

“I just can’t envision Shelby County government not supporting those called to active duty,” Dillard said.

Allison said the commission has always supported the filling of military leave positions in the past.

“I won’t say I won’t support it,” Allison said. “We need to take a closer look. Don’t take this table as that I don’t support the military. We will probably have to cut other areas if we support this.”

According to Capt. Ken Burchfield of the sheriff’s department, those on military leave are not paid salaries unless the deputy earns a higher salary at the sheriff’s department than from the military. In that case, the deputy would only earn the difference between the two salaries.

“There would actually be a cost savings, not an increase,” Burchfield said. “(The deputies on leave) have made several step advancements in their pay. They don’t receive that pay while they’re gone.”

Burchfield said the deputies hired to fill the positions would start at a lower salary because they would be new to the department.

Burchfield said the hiring process would take between 45-60 days.

“Consider giving us the go-ahead to do the background. We really take our time hiring people because we want to have the right one,” said Chief Deputy John Samaniego.

Allison said the replacements would cost the county money.

“This is just one more off a list of things we’re going to have to fit in with less money,” Allison said.

“I understand your argument, but I would hate to reduce services to the residents further,” Samaniego said.

The commission voted 4-3 to table the resolution until a September commission meeting. Commissioners Jon Parker, Rick Shepherd and Dillard voted against tabling the resolution.

“If we weren’t at budget time, I wouldn’t support tabling it. I want to keep it short term,” Commissioner Corley Ellis said.

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