Madison Co. commissioners deny sheriff’s request again

JACKSON, Tenn. — It was one of the last items on the agenda at Monday’s County Commission meeting — a request for $29,600 for Madison County Sheriff’s Office retirees.

“An employee has accumulated vacation time, holiday time and comp time that they’ve accumulated over the years,” Commissioner Harold Petty said.

That’s when things became contentious.

“They need to set it up and have that fund set aside for the retirees who are going to retire, because we have no idea when they’re going to retire,” Sheriff John Mehr said.

“They’ve been coming back every month asking for that, and from a budgeting process, it’s difficult,” Commissioner Doug Stephenson said.

“In my opinion, these people who are on the budget committee who are against these issues need to be at the finance committee meeting and voice those opinions there,” Petty said.

After that request was denied, Stephenson pulled up specific account expenditures and asked what they were for.

“We’ve been having such difficulty with the overtime and things like that, just trying to make sure we’ve got things clarified,” Stephenson said.

Plus, the sheriff just asked for $25 million in next year’s budget.

“I feel like we can do $22 million without a tax increase. We don’t have any aspirations to have a tax increase, to do that without some type of justification,” Stephenson said.

“That’s something they have to do. That’s not my decision. I’m not a commissioner,” Sheriff Mehr said. “I know what I’ll have to do if I don’t get my budget, and I’ll do whatever it takes.”

“What will you have to do?” WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reporter Julia Ewoldt asked the sheriff.

“I’m not going there,” the sheriff said.

The ethics committee also pushed a censure for school board member Morris Merriweather to the resolution committee. They also hired Karen Bell as the new finance director.

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