Underwood files 2nd suit against commission

By JENNIFER COHRON, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/30/17

Walker County Sheriff Jim Underwood filed a second civil suit against the Walker County Commission on Friday over budget cuts enacted in October.

The complaint asks the court to require commissioners to fund the $5.2 million budget request made by Underwood for the current fiscal year or to appear in court showing cause why they cannot do so.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

Underwood files 2nd suit against commission

Posted

Walker County Sheriff Jim Underwood filed a second civil suit against the Walker County Commission on Friday over budget cuts enacted in October.

The complaint asks the court to require commissioners to fund the $5.2 million budget request made by Underwood for the current fiscal year or to appear in court showing cause why they cannot do so.

The complaint also requests that the commission be required to fund the Walker County Sheriff’s Office and jail “at the necessary level in order that the plaintiff may meet his obligations established by state law” and that commissioners be prevented from “refusing to fund the plaintiff’s reasonable budget request” unless it is in accordance with state law.

Underwood received slightly over $5 million — approximately $121,000 less than he had requested for the operation of the sheriff’s department and approximately $130,000 less than he had requested for the jail.

According to the complaint, the current budget represents a combined cut of more than $263,000 for the sheriff’s department and jail from 2016-2017.

“Based on the current level of funds, the Walker County Sheriff’s Department cannot provide essential services to the citizens of Walker County. If the plaintiffs’ budget request is not funded by the defendants, the plaintiff will be compelled to reduce the sheriff’s department staff and seriously curtail protection to the citizens of Walker County,” the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the current budget would not allow Underwood to fill eight full-time positions that were vacant on the jail staff on Oct. 1 and would force Underwood to eliminate an additional eight part-time positions.

The complaint also states that overtime funds are expected to be depleted by Jan. 1.

The suit was filed Wednesday in Walker County Circuit Court.

On Nov. 1, Underwood filed a separate civil suit against the commission in Walker County Circuit Court over recent changes to the inmate feeding program.

That complaint asked the court to prevent the commission from shifting the responsibility for feeding prisoners at the jail to Underwood.