County commission approves sheriff’s $180,000 legal fees
By Bobby Lee McCulley | November 30, 2017 7:18 am
After months of discussions and over a year of mediations, White County commissioners have finally approved the authorization of amending the county’s budget to pay for the legal fees incurred from the sheriff’s lawsuit against the county.
On Aug. 5, 2016, White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, along with his attorneys Lane Moore and Randall York, filed a civil lawsuit with the White County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. The defendant in this lawsuit was the government of White County.
The lawsuit alleged that the sheriff and the White County Sheriff Department were not being adequately funded to properly run the sheriff department. The sheriff requested numerous new positions, raises, and new equipment.
After over a year in court and a mediation session between the county and the sheriff, a settlement agreement was presented to the county commissioners for consideration. The county commission approved the settlement with Shoupe by a vote of 9 for and 5 against, on Sept. 18, 2017.
According to the approved settlement, the government of White County agreed to the following;
-Immediately authorize and fund two (2) additional deputies for the current 2017-2018 fiscal year and two (2) additional deputies for the 2018-2019 fiscal year
-Immediately authorize and fund ten (10) correctional officers for the current 2017-2018 fiscal year, fund three (3) additional correctional officers for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and three (3) more correctional officers for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
-Authorize and fund one (1) secretary at a salary of $10 per hour beginning in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
-Authorize and fund the purchase of a minimum of four (4) patrol cars during the 2018-2019 fiscal year and fund the purchase of a minimum of four (4) patrol cars during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
The resolution presented to commissioners on Nov. 20 allows the county to amend the 2018 budget by increasing the commission’s legal fees by $180,000. Shoupe’s attorneys have requested the county to pay approximately $119,950.09 for legal fees and expenses. The county government has also incurred legal fees in the amount of approximately $60,049.91.
With very little discussion on the budget amendment, the commissioners voted to approve the resolution.