Sheriff’s employees sue sheriff, county, law board for merit raises

Published 7:17 pm Thursday, May 12, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Four Shelby County Sheriff’s Office employees have taken legal action against the sheriff, the county, the county commission and the Law Enforcement Personnel Board.

The complaint was filed May 9 in Shelby County Circuit Court by Dep. Russell Bledsoe, Dep. Clay Hammac, Dispatcher Anne P. Watford and Corrections Sgt. Leslie Hood, on behalf of 209 sheriff’s employees.

The suit seeks “back pay and damages due to the failure of Shelby County and the County Commission to provide full salaries to the employees” of the sheriff’s office “under the requirements of the statute regulating the employment of law enforcement employees in Shelby County.”

Sheriff’s employees have not received any step or merit raises since Oct. 1, 2010.

The county commission on Sept. 27, 2010 adopted a resolution halting merit and step raises for the current fiscal year. It applies to employees under LEPD jurisdiction.

“Such actions are not within the power and authority of the commission under governing state law,” the suit reads. “Shelby County is paying the employees amounts that are less than the amount directed by the LEPB.”

The suit seeks to “order the defendants to pay all back pay, damages and interest that has accrued thereon as a result of the unlawful underpayment of payrolls since Oct. 1, 2010 that fail to meet the requirements of the LEPB Act.”