Marshall Co. Judge Executive Neal wants to change sheriff’s office spending authority

Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Byars is defending his annual budget, but admits there were mistakes in the past.

"One line item that I did fail to go back to the fiscal court to get amended. That is on me," Sheriff Byars said. 

That one line item is the salaries for his employees, which Judge Executive Kevin Neal said has been well above the maximum amount approved the by the fiscal court for the past several years. Byars said the over-spending wasn’t intentional.

"All that is is simple housekeeping issues. Did I overspend the budget? No," Byars said.

Neal did not want to talk to Local 6 on camera, but said he wants to implement a fee pooling system mainly for accountability. He said state audits show the sheriff overspent by thousands.

State audits show the base salaries exceeded the maximum amount by $105,000 in 2011.  In 2012 the total was just more than $62,0000, and in 2013 the total was $107,000.

Neal is proposing a fee pooling ordinance, which would allow the fiscal court to have control over how the sheriff’s office spends its money, including first approving monthly expenses before a check is written. Byars, who is against the ordinance, said he is working with the county treasurer to make sure this year’s salaries don’t cost the taxpayers any more money.

"We should be on track this year where we are going to be under the maximum amount," Byars told Local 6. The fiscal court will have a second reading of the ordinance Tuesday. If it passes, it would take effect Jan. 1.

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