County Commission submits plan to pay sheriff’s merit raises

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

The Shelby County Commission submitted court documents Nov. 9 detailing how it plans to retroactively pay merit raises to sheriff’s office employees for the 2011 fiscal year.

Attorneys from Montgomery-based Webb and Eley submitted the court-ordered plan on behalf of the commission, more than three weeks after a judge ruled the commission must pay for the raises.

It will cost $228,833 to pay the raises, according to the document. The commission said that Sheriff Chris Curry should reimburse the county $204,394 from his pistol permit fund and food account.

County revenues for the last fiscal year were $1.6 million less than projected, in part because of Curry’s financial decisions, the commission argues in the plan.

“This reduction in revenue was caused in large part by Sheriff Curry’s act of lowering the number of federal inmates that he would accept into the Shelby County Jail,” the plan states.

The sheriff continued to employ the same number of staff even though the jail operated at partial capacity, the plan states. The result was a $602,454 shortfall in revenue designated for Curry’s department, the plan states.

The commission, through the plan, stated that the sheriff’s pistol permit fund increased by $187,000 throughout the fiscal year. In his deposition, the plan states, Curry said motor vehicle purchases are law enforcement expenses that could come out of the pistol permit fund.

“Sheriff Curry should be required to reimburse the Shelby County Commission $187,084 of the $221,265 that was spent on purchasing motor vehicles for him out of his pistol permit fund,” the plan states.

The commission argues that Curry’s food account increased by $28,424 from June 26, 2010 to September 27, 2011. The commission argues that it spent $17,310 on various food and kitchen equipment, and therefore Curry should have to pay back the commission $17,310.

In ruling against the county Oct. 18, the judge also stated that the commission must fund merit raises for 2012. The commission has until Nov. 29 to file its plan to pay for those raises.