Jeffco lawmakers demand return of county workers

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County lawmakers are demanding the return of county workers to their jobs. Some of the workers tell Fox6, being put on administrative leave without pay has not been easy. "It's pretty rough.

I've got a second job. I've got a second job. A lot of those guys do not have a second job. They depend on this. They have let us down." says Billy Acton, county workers.

Birmingham Representative John Rogers says that's fair."Hire these people back. We want you to bring them back immediately." says Rogers.

Rogers along with other Jefferson County lawmakers sent a letter to all county commissioners asking them to bring more than a thousand county workers on leave back to work."

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says that may not be possible just yet."I don't know of any situation we will be in to bring people back until we know we can pay them. That's the key part here do we have the money to pay their salaries." says Collins.

The new job tax passed on close votes. Rogers says the new job tax is legal and allows the commission to collect the old tax until January first. Rogers says the commission can also to spend millions of dollars in an escrow account.""We sacrificed ourselves so these folks can get them jobs back. Now you are not going to hire them back? That's a travesty."

Commissioner William Bell says the county cannot spend the money until the Alabama Supreme Court rules on the old tax and if the county can spend the escrow funds."We need clarification from the Supreme Court, to whether or not we can go forward with access to 22 to 23 million dollars in the escrow account." says Bell. Some say it may be a month to six weeks before the court issues a ruling.