Sheriff looks to fill two full-time spots
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will hire two part-time deputies temporarily to fill spots in the department while the sheriff is conducting interviews to hire two full-time deputies.
Sheriff Gregg Morton said deputy Josh Tarrence has resigned to relocate. He has been with the sheriff’s department about five years.
“We’ll have another open spot when one of my deputies deploys for a year with the Army Reserves,” Morton told the board of supervisors today. “He’ll be gone more than a year because of the couple months of training required, so he’ll leave the department in November.”
Morton has eligible candidates to interview, but said it takes nearly a year to get a new-hire up to speed working on the force.
“If I hire non-certified new guys, they spend time with us then need to attend the academy,” said Morton. “One of the full-time candidates is certified.”
Morton will use two part-time hires as deputies while one deputy is deployed and a new-hire is undergoing training.
“The two full-time spots I’m looking to fill are from the retirement of Jerry Droz and Josh Tarrence resigning,” he said. “I’m not growing my staff.
“My chief deputy [Bart Richmond] and I have been taking shifts and working on weekends, and we’ll continue doing that for awhile.”
Morton has two former Fairfield police officers in mind to hire temporarily as part-time deputies: Kris Metcalf, now serving as chief of police in Eldon, and Dale Squires, a part-time policeman in Richland.
“Both are certified peace officers and are familiar with Jefferson County and its roads,” said Morton. “They will need to learn about civil procedures and the jail, but otherwise they won’t need training.”
Metcalf and Squires will be paid the lowest hourly rate, $23.63 and will be eligible for sick leave and vacation days according to civil service rules, but not for any other benefits.
“Would either one be eligible to step up to full time?” asked Supervisor Dick Reed.
Morton said they would have to take the annual test like everyone else that establishes a list of candidates.
“I need the manpower now, and these two are willing to be temporary and part-time,” he said.
Sheriff reserve deputies are not a good solution because a certified peace officer has to be on duty during the same shift a reserve deputy is working.
Jefferson County Assessor Sheri Blough asked the supervisors to approve a property tax refund.
“Lynne Johnson has a farm and in 2010 we went out to her house to re-assess the property after home improvements had been made,” said Blough. “The improvements did add to the assessment.
“However, when we came back to the office, we made a mistake,” she said.
Blough explained about a computer program that with the click of a computer button can duplicate the square-footage of a house. She said it is useful in housing developments where 10 identical houses exist.
“But that button was used on Lynne Johnson’s house and it duplicated her house, which doubled the assessment, when that was not the intent,” said Blough. “After applying rollbacks and Homestead Credit, she was overcharged $3,282 in 2011 property taxes, and she paid it.
“I have no mechanism to refund paid taxes, so I’m asking the supervisors for a refund,” said Blough. “I can catch the 2012 and 2013 taxes and correct the problem.
“But this was definitely our mistake.”
The three supervisors agreed it was the assessor’s office mistake.
“I agree it’s right to refund the money, and I will vote for a refund, but it’s a judgment call,” said Reed. “If someone else is being assessed for a basement and their house has no basement, are we going to refund taxes? People should know what they are paying for and pay attention to their tax bills.”
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said the two issues are different. A tax bill indicates whether a basement is being assessed or not.
“Lynne Johnson’s tax bill would not have indicated a duplicate assessment,” said Dimmitt.
Blough said the general public may not understand how to read and interpret tax bills, and anyone with questions can call her office.
“She did say when I brought it to her attention that she thought her taxes were high,” said Blough about Johnson’s bill.
Reed said it was important for the board to have discussions when making decisions and he agreed with providing the refund.