2011-07-13 / Local News

Sheriff’s plan to restructure department stymied by section in budget ordinance

By LARRY HILLIARD Ledger Staff Writer larry@gaffneyledger.com

It appeared that Cherokee County Council had successfully stalled Sheriff Steve Mueller’s efforts to restructure his department until one council member broke ranks to insist that council take action on thematter .

Mueller told council last week that county administrators twice denied his memos to restructure his department. The administrators claimed Sec. 22 of the budget ordinance prohibits any restructuring without council approval, Mueller said.

Cherokee County Council TimSpencer informedMueller that council would take his statements as information and delay any action until councilman CharlesMathis had his say on thematter. Mathis was absent from Tuesday’s council meeting.

Mueller said he wanted an answer quickly since the county’s personnel office and county treasurer were awaiting word tomove forward with the changes.

Spencer toldMueller he would have his answer at council’s next meeting July 18.

CouncilmanMike Fowlkes, a former member of the sheriff’s department, pointedly asked Spencer, “Why did we have thismeeting? Are we not going to do any county business?”

Fowlkes’ remarks prompted councilman Rufus Foster tomake a motion to change a budget addendum to reflect Mueller’s changes.

According to a meeting schedule, council should approve third reading of the motion Aug. 15. Under that scenario, the changes could take effect as early as Sept. 1.

Councilman Quay Little supported Mueller’s efforts but voiced concern that council might be surrendering its authority to examine the salaries of each department’s employees.

Mueller has said the restructuring and pay scale are needed to better reflect the current duties of his employees.

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