Anderson County mayor, sheriff settle lawsuit out of court

Anderson County mayor, sheriff settle lawsuit out of court

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CLINTON (WATE) -  Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White have settled out of court after the sheriff filed a lawsuit in July asking for more funding to pay salaries for an additional 36 officers and a coordinator.

Under the settlement agreement, signed Thursday, the sheriff will be allowed to hire 15 additional deputies to staff the new jail instead of the original 36. The sheriff will also be able to hire additional temporary deputies at his discretion, providing he stays within the $6,625,595 budget approved by County Commission for the fiscal year.

The agreement also removes language changing the sheriff's appropriation from County Commission to $7,668,912.

With the assistance of jail consultants retained for litigation, the mayor and sheriff worked together through mediation to consider new strategies for managing inmate and jail staff.

In a joint press release, both parties admit similar settlement agreements were offered in July and September, but the sheriff says complex legal issues, poorly drafted governing state statutes and conflicting legal advice made it impossible to settle at those times.

In a separate press release solely from Mayor Frank, she says Law Director Jay Yeager and Commissioner Myron Iwanski misled Sheriff White into filing the suit, saying Iwanski misled people into thinking the county could budget for half-years for annual salaries, and that the law director continued that myth.

Mayor Frank says she is shocked and dismayed by what she calls "ethical insensitivities" from the law director, saying he gave Sheriff White conflicting legal advice that put him at odds with her.

Law Director Jay Yeager also released a statement late Friday afternoon, calling the mayor's statements intentionally false:

"Obviously, the Sheriff has prevailed in this disagreement and the mayor is trying to put her political spin on this just outcome and unfortunately blame others for her lack of leadership ability.  Despite past misstatements, the Sheriff was never asking for additional monetary appropriations in his budget.  He was always satisfied with the amount appropriated by County Commission in June and promised he could operate effectively and open the new jail expansion within that budget."


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