Council member pleads guilty to theft

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Columbiana City Councilmember Sherry Rush, 49, plead guilt to the misdemeanor charge of theft of property in the third degree last Wednesday.

Rush, who was employed by Shelby County in the license office, was terminated Friday, Nov. 7, 2003, according to County Finance Manager Butch Burbage.

Shelby County Jail records showed Rush was arrested that same day and released on $1,000 bond.

Burbage said Rush was terminated for misconduct under her responsibilities and duties as a license office supervisor. And according to media reports at the time, $300 was discovered to be missing from the license office.

Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens said last Wednesday Rush plead guilty to theft of property in the third degree before Circuit Court Judge Al Crowson. Owens said she was sentenced to one year probation, fined $100 and lost her job.

He also recalled that Rush repaid back the $300.

Owens said the misdemeanor does not &uot;prohibit&uot; Rush from serving on the Columbiana City Council.

Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe spoke up for the character of Rush, a longtime friend.

&uot;As speaking for her character,&uot; Lowe said, &uot;she is a person of high, strong character. She has been my friend for many years, and I anticipate her friendship for many years forward.

&uot;I told her she and her family had been in my prayers and that if there was anything I and my family could do, to let us know.

&uot;What happened did not involve the council or the city

in any aspect,&uot; Mayor Lowe said.

He said that meant it did not involve Rush’s duties as a member of the council or any city finances.

Lowe said, however, Rush did not tell him of her plans with regard to her future on the council.

According to media reports, Rush was employed by Shelby County for 15 years and earned more than $40,000 per year.

Depite repeated attempts, Rush was unavailable for comment