Commissioner wants investigation into sheriff's department

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The president of the Jefferson County Commission wants an investigation conducted into the sheriff's department after another commissioner raised concerns about some employees possibly double-dipping.

Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said Wednesday she wants an investigation to see if any employees are double dipping and abusing county rules.

"Certainly, if it's happening, it is a problem," Collins said. "Today I asked the county attorney and human resource director, we need affidavits they are actually on military duty."

The announcement came after Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot said Wednesday morning some county employees are double dipping. She said there are about a dozen employees in the sheriff's department on leave making big bucks but still having the county pay for their insurance and pension.

"I'm disturbed we paying their pension, their medical." Smoot said. "I'm in disbelief. I'm in shock. Someone thinking they can go on personal leave as if they are serving our country and they are really serving themselves."

Jefferson County Chief Deputy Randy Christian said the allegations are not true.

"We will clear that up with Commissioner Smoot," Christian said.

Christian said there are eight deputies on military leave, and by law the county must continue to pay their benefits. In addition to those four, Christian said There are four more deputies on personal leave, without pay, who are training law enforcement personnel in Iraq.

"They are not receiving any benefits while they are gone," Christian said. "She (Smoot) should have known this. She has been in office long enough to know the benefits stop."

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