Sheriff Hale wants budget cuts restored

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Sheriff Mike Hale is making a case to restore $10 million to his budget.

Hale sent county commissioners letters Monday, asking them to restore the money they cut from his budget October 1st. A spokesman for the sheriff's office says the money should come from the settlement reached last week between J.P. Morgan Chase and Company and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The settlement included a $50 million payment to Jefferson County.

Lt. Randy Christian said that money could be used to bring back 46 sheriff deputies and 21 civilian employees put on leave in October.

"They are sitting at home without a way to pay their bills," Christian said. "They want to be out in the county delivering a service. That's what they were hired to do. What they were trained to do."

So far most county commissioners are saying no to Sheriff Hale's request.

"I don't think he will get the $10 million restored," said Bobby Humphryes, Jefferson Co. Commissioner, on Tuesday.

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said the sheriff can turn to other sources for money.

"There was a big drug bust in Hueytown," Collins said. "They took some discretionary money from drug busts. As they do on others."

Humphryes said he met with Hale about his budget problem last week and believes there may be some money to help bring his workers back.

"In my mind if we can have enough money to bring them back for 40 hours, then he should be able be enough money to bring these people back from 40 hours," Humphryes said.

Commissioner William Bell also believes Hale should get some money back.

"The sheriff's office and the coroner's office should be a top priority to bet back their budget," Bell said. "I still maintain that."

Talks are expected to continue between the sheriff and the county commission.

"At the very least we would like to see it put on the agenda for a vote and have the public say a vote it up or down," Christian said. "See who is for public safety and who is not."