Commissioner Smoot versus Jeffco Sheriff's Office continues

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The war of words continues between the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Jefferson County Commission.

Today, the Jefferson County chief deputy called for Commissioner Shelia Smoot's resignation. This stems from Wednesday when Smoot questioned if some Jefferson County employees were double dipping while going on personal leave overseas, still drawing county benefits.

"I'm in disbelief. I'm in shock of someone thinking they can go on personal leave, as if they are serving our county and they are serving themselves," Smoot said.

Friday, Jefferson Co. Sheriff's Detective Patricia Cowart says that is not true.

Cowart's husband, a sheriff's deputy, is on leave. He's  training law enforcement personnel in Iraq.  "They are not benefiting from anything. From anything. They are not getting any benefits," Cowart said.

Cowart produced paperwork showing all of her husbands benefits were terminated.

"She insinuated there were defrauding taxpayer of the county. She lessen them to the level of criminals," Cowart said.

Chief Deputy Randy Christian says sheriff deputies, their families, and the public is upset over the comments.

"She should consider stepping down. I think she has embarrassed Jefferson County enough. The only thing that would insure that stops.... is her resignation," Christian said.

When contracted by FOX6,  Commissioner Smoot says she will not apologize or resign.

"I asked that agenda item be checked. It had been. We want to make sure procedure is being followed. Obviously Mr. Christian does not believe in proper procedure. I have no plans to address a PIO," Smoot said.

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