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County Council Addresses Staffing Issues
Updated June 26, 2014 11:00 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig has some immediate personnel issues - two of his veteran deputies are scheduled to retire this summer and he asked the county council to replace them and to transfer $16,000 from his surplus equipment fund to pay for a new jailer.

That request was approved by all, but Councilman Keith Dillman who asked Craig to consider using the money from one of the deputy positions to fill a void in staffing at the jail. During last year's examination of the detention center a state inspector recommended the county hire six staff members for the facility.

Sheriff Sam Craig's personnel issues were more immediate in nature. Besides transferring $16,000 from his surplus.

But Craig says he is short staffed everywhere.

"I am constantly shuffling people around to try to make the system work and to make ends meet," he added. "I can't do my job if the funding is not there. "I know you guys have a very hard job to do. I appreciated that. But public safety is my major concern. I feel bad sending these guys out alone on some of these calls. If somebody gets hurt, it falls back on me."

Craig reported the current jail population at 126, of those 34 of the inmates are women and seven Department of Correction prisoners.

Craig is not the only one having staffing issues.

Kenna Hodges, representing the Surveyor's Office, asked the council to consider adding another full-time position when they begin preparing the 2015 budget.

Hodges is overwhelmed because she is the only one doing the job.

Councilmen Jim Edwards and Mark Mathis both sent time in the Surveyor's Office and acknowledged the office was bustling with activity.

Councilman Dillman asked why Lawrence County Surveyor Michael Arena wasn't making the request for additional staffing. Hodges said he could attend the meeting.
But Dillman stressed Arena was an elected official and it was his job to ask for the additional staffing.

In other business:

David Holmes, superintendent of highways, was authorized to transfer $175,000 from unappropriated funds to use for paving highways this summer.

He explained the money is the surplus from the unanticipated increase in state funding received in 2013.

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