Chief deputy wants Sheila Smoot to resign

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The chief deputy of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said Friday county commissioner Sheila Smoot should resign her position after questions she raised earlier this week regarding pensions for deputies on leave.

Randy Christian, the second in command under Sheriff Mike Hale, sent a statement Friday morning to FOX6 News asking for Smoot to apologize and resign for what he called "false accusations" and "an intentional lie."

"I represent over 700 employees of the Sheriff's office and I am certain many employees of other county departments and citizens of Jefferson County that believe Commissioner Smoot embarrassed the reputations of these employees and their families to a point that cannot be repaired," Christian said. "The proper thing for her to do is not only apologize but step down from her position to save Jefferson County from any further embarrassment on her watch."

Wednesday, Smoot said there are about a dozen employees in the sheriff's department on leave but still having the county pay for their insurance and pension.

"I'm disturbed we paying their pension, their medical." Smoot said Wednesday. "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."

After the meeting, 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."

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 Wednesday. "Today I asked the county attorney and human resource director, we need affidavits they are actually on military duty."

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