Morning news update

Administrative leave, closings of satellite offices begin in Jeffco

Hundreds of Jefferson County employees are out of work beginning Friday. The county was forced to put 67 percent of its workforce on administrative leave. Also, all satellite offices will close after today. Even with budget cuts and administrative leave, county commissioners say they cannot guarantee they will make payroll for August 21st. The County says that citizens can still go to the Birmingham and Bessemer locations, but they should expect long lines. At the Bessemer location, there will only be 3 workers.

Jefferson County employee arrested for bomb threats

A county employee on the list for administrative leave has been charged with making bomb threats. 30-year-old Marcus Maddox is behind bars on a 50-thousand dollar bond. The Sheriff's Department says he is accused of sending several threatening e-mails to county employees and two county commissioners Thursday afternoon.

Al LaPierre pleads guilty to charges

Meanwhile, Mayor Langford's co-defendant in a federal corruption case has plead guilty. Al LaPierre admitted to criminal conspiracy and filing a false tax return on Thursday. LaPierre told a federal judge he was guilty of funneling money from investment banker Bill Blount to then County Commissioner Larry Langford.  He told the judge the deal was in exchange for Langford steering county bond writing business to Blount. LaPierre faces 8 years in prison, which could be cut in half if he cooperates with prosecutors in the cases against Langford and Blount. The trial of Mayor Langford and Bill Blount is scheduled to begin August 31st.

Birmingham City Council approves budget

The Birmingham City Council Budget Committee has agreed on a 2010 budget. The budget now waits on Mayor Langford's signature. If he vetoes it or makes big changes, the committee can send it to the full council to override. Under the proposed budget, the council would allow dipping into the city's savings account by 10-million dollars in order to avoid cuts in city departments. The budget also cuts funding to non-profits by 20-percent.

Auburn University student found safe

An Auburn University student, believed to have been missing in Thailand, has been found safe. Michael Griffin Harrie was in Japan for a study abroad program. He phoned his parents to say he was going on a visit to Thailand, and then failed to show up later in Tokyo. Immigration officials say Harrie appeared to be safe and apparently left the country under his own free will.