Sheriff John Darr has help addressing budget woes - WRBL

Sheriff John Darr has help addressing budget woes

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Two months after the city learned that the Muscogee County jail had more than $900,000 in unpaid medical bills, Sheriff John Darr is scheduled to speak before council about solutions for the future. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has helped the sheriff with some suggestions of her own.

The sheriff exceeded his office's budget by more than $2 million last fiscal year, and he's had overages for five years in a row. Now he's re-examining some of his practices.

Mayor Tomlinson says, "He's certainly an expert law enforcement guy; he's been with the sheriff's office for a very long time and knows that mission well. Budgetary management issues are a different thing."

Among the first changes in the sheriff's office for fiscal year 2014? Hire an accountant.

"If you're not keeping current invoices, you really have no idea where you are in your budget," says the mayor, "and I think that's been one management challenges for the sheriff's department."

Along with the financial advisor for the office, Sheriff Darr has privatized healthcare for the Muscogee County jail clinic, a move that will help cut overtime costs and excessive trips to the emergency room.

The mayor says overtime is one of the major issues in the sheriff's office as well with more than $1 million in payout last year.

The sheriff has agreed to pay the overages from his own jail reserve fund, however, saving the city from having to use five reserve days. Mayor Tomlinson says, "It's just hardly fair to say that one department, the sheriff's department, has overspent its budget by $2 million therefore we have to lay off people in Public Works."

The mayor isn't looking solely to the sheriff's office for changes. One idea has a copy of all invoices now being sent to the Finance Department so they aren't surprised with late bills.

"The fact of the matter is we're all serving taxpayers," says the mayor. "The Finance Department is a supportive service of those independent elected officials, and they have to have some sort of information in order to fulfill their duty."

At Tuesday's meeting the sheriff will present the changes in practices and answer questions from council members. The mayor says she's confident next year won't be a problem.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Server receives $10,000 tip

    Server receives $10,000 tip

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:52 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:52:59 GMT
    A Louisiana server received the tip of a lifetime.A Louisiana server received the tip of a lifetime.
    A Louisiana server received the tip of a lifetime.
    A Louisiana server received the tip of a lifetime.
  • LaGrange police looking for woman in hit-and-run case

    LaGrange police looking for woman in hit-and-run case

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:15:02 GMT
    Police need your help identifying this womanPolice need your help identifying this woman
    LaGrange Police need your help identifying a woman.
    LaGrange Police need your help identifying a woman.
  • 18 arrested so far in Anderson County drug roundup

    18 arrested so far in Anderson County drug roundup

    Eighteen people have been arrested so far as part of a round up in Anderson County after a grand jury returned indictments on 26 people on drug charges.
    Eighteen people have been arrested so far as part of a round up in Anderson County after a grand jury returned indictments on 26 people on drug charges.
  • On Your SideMore>>

  • Health Watch: Event planned to honor 2 year old Leukemia/stroke survivor

    Health Watch: Event planned to honor 2 year old Leukemia/stroke survivor

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:38:43 GMT
    A 2 year old Columbus boy is battling his way back from two bouts with leukemia and a stroke so severe doctors gave up on him.Patrick Kenyon is Jason’s father. He says despite the medical challenges, his family feels blessed. He says for the second time Jason is in remission. His big sister is the perfect bone marrow match for Jason, and he survived a major stroke when doctors wanted to send him to die.“The motor func...
    A 2 year old Columbus boy is battling his way back from two bouts with leukemia and a stroke so severe doctors gave up on him.Patrick Kenyon is Jason’s father. He says despite the medical challenges, his family feels blessed. He says for the second time Jason is in remission. His big sister is the perfect bone marrow match for Jason, and he survived a major stroke when doctors wanted to send him to die.“The motor func...
  • 3 new members elected to Muscogee County BOE

    3 new members elected to Muscogee County BOE

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:47 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:47:36 GMT
    After a major upset victory on the Muscogee County school board, newly elected member John Thomas is looking forward to the future by helping students across the district. In a 80-20 landslide, a political newcomer soundly defeated John Wells, who has served on the school board for 28 years.
    After a major upset victory on the Muscogee County school board, newly elected member John Thomas is looking forward to the future by helping students across the district. In a 80-20 landslide, a political newcomer soundly defeated John Wells, who has served on the school board for 28 years.
  • LaGrange police looking for stabbing suspects

    LaGrange police looking for stabbing suspects

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-07-23 13:20:04 GMT
    News 3 CrimewatchNews 3 Crimewatch
    Police need your help finding the suspects who attacked and stabbed a man in LaGrange.
    Police need your help finding the suspects who attacked and stabbed a man in LaGrange.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.