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>>

  • Authorities: Man walks into sheriff's office, confesses to sexual abuse

    Authorities: Man walks into sheriff's office, confesses to sexual abuse

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:58:31 GMT
    Johnny Row BoltJohnny Row Bolt
    A 62-year-old Chambers County man was arrested on two counts of Sexual Abusecharges. Authorities with the Chambers County Sheriff's Office say Johnny Bolt, of Five Points, walked into the sheriff's office this week and confessed to sexually abusing a family member under the age of 12. They say he was arrested Thursday and made bond that same day.
    A 62-year-old Chambers County man was arrested on two counts of Sexual Abusecharges. Authorities with the Chambers County Sheriff's Office say Johnny Bolt, of Five Points, walked into the sheriff's office this week and confessed to sexually abusing a family member under the age of 12. They say he was arrested Thursday and made bond that same day.
  • Opelika family in need of wheelchair accessible van

    Opelika family in need of wheelchair accessible van

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:22 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:22:14 GMT
    An Opelika family needs your help. They are raising money for a wheelchair accessible van for their 7 year old special needs daughter. Her name is Abbie. She suffers from a rare brain disorder. The disease attacks the portion of her brain that controls hearing, speech, balance and the ability to swallow.
    An Opelika family needs your help. They are raising money for a wheelchair accessible van for their 7 year old special needs daughter. Her name is Abbie. She suffers from a rare brain disorder. The disease attacks the portion of her brain that controls hearing, speech, balance and the ability to swallow.
  • Grandmother of boy tied up in Macy's bathroom speaks

    Grandmother of boy tied up in Macy's bathroom speaks

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:26 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:26:14 GMT
    The grandmother, whose face is concealed to protect child's identityThe grandmother, whose face is concealed to protect child's identity
    The family of an 8-year-old boy, who police say was tied up and assaulted in Peachtree Mall, pleading for the public's help after nearly two weeks with no arrest.
    The family of an 8-year-old boy, who police say was tied up and assaulted in Peachtree Mall, pleading for the public's help after nearly two weeks with no arrest.
  • On Your SideMore>>

  • Alabama State Trooper injured in shootout

    Alabama State Trooper injured in shootout

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:59:28 GMT
    An Alabama State Trooper has been released from the hospital after he was in a shootout with two men in southeast Alabama.
    An Alabama State Trooper has been released from the hospital after he was in a shootout with two men in southeast Alabama.
  • Columbus man shot in face, another injured in weekend shooting

    Columbus man shot in face, another injured in weekend shooting

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:55 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:55:24 GMT
    Columbus Police are looking for the gunman responsible for shooting a man in the face and a woman in the leg on Saturday.
    Columbus Police are looking for the gunman responsible for shooting a man in the face and a woman in the leg on Saturday.
  • Escaped inmate tased twice, jumps in lake during capture

    Escaped inmate tased twice, jumps in lake during capture

    Saturday, April 19 2014 2:01 PM EDT2014-04-19 18:01:28 GMT
    Grisset shows which way Adams ranGrisset shows which way Adams ran
    Darrin Adams got away from a Muscogee County prison detail last Friday. This came months after he escaped from the Lee County Detention Center in December and another Georgia prison in 1994. Lee County authorities found him late Wednesday night.
    Darrin Adams got away from a Muscogee County prison detail last Friday. This came months after he escaped from the Lee County Detention Center in December and another Georgia prison in 1994. Lee County authorities found him late Wednesday night.
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.