After Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird returned to a special called meeting of the Harlan Fiscal Court on Monday with more cuts to his 2014 salary cap, a motion to accept those cuts, as presented, was struck down when a roll call vote was held, and a tie resulted.
Another motion, made by Magistrate Jonathan Pope and seconded by Magistrate Delbert Stephens, asking that $7,182.11 in additional cuts be made to the sheriff’s salary cap was approved after another roll call vote was held.
After the meeting, Lipfird responded by saying he originally submitted a salary cap of approximately $1 million. During Monday’s meeting, Lipfird submitted a new salary cap of $907,182.11, which was cut even deeper to $900,000.
“If I had been told back in November, when we first began work on the budget, that they wanted me at $900,000 I would have had a contingency plan to do so. But instead the court waits until six days before Christmas and informs me major cuts have to be made,” said Lipfird.
“I eliminated well over $100,000 when I returned today, which includes any and all overtime and one position. That wasn’t good enough for the court, so now, I’ll have to either eliminate another position or cut people to a three-day work week, which I can’t do for the officers who receive KLEFP (Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program) funds, which requires them to work a 40-hour week by statute.”
Lipfird said his budget and salary cap must be submitted by Dec. 31.
“Salaries for all my deputies is $821,118.05. The school system pays approximately $90,000 for two officers at Harlan County High School (HCHS), who work 40 hours per week, which brought the salary cap up to $907,182.11.”
Lipfird said that $90,000 from the school system has not been paid since 2011.
“When I billed the school system for these two officers I billed them quarterly,” said Lipfird. “(Harlan County) Judge-(Executive Joe) Grieshop didn’t want that to show on my excess fees I turned in, so, he asked Harlan County Treasurer Ryan Creech to come to me and ask that this payment be sent to the treasurer’s office. The school system budgets for these deputies, but since I haven’t been sending the invoice for this bill to the school system, the school system has not paid since 2011. The school system has to have an invoice before they will pay and they have not been billed by Harlan Fiscal Court for the past two and one-half years. “
Creech agreed with Lipfird saying the last payment he saw from the school system was in 2011.
“The sheriff and I are going to try and work together and get a copy of the contract together. Then, get with the school system, when they come back in session, and see what we need to do to move forward and see if they’re willing to pay for these deputies or not,” said Creech.
Lipfird added if the school system refuses to pay the salaries for the two deputies at HCHS, those officers will not return because “the sheriff’s office can’t afford to pay them.”
“I don’t care to make the cuts they deem necessary, but since July I have eliminated six positions and will make more if I have to. You now have one deputy patrolling per district, a supervisor and two officers during the day doing process serving. I hate it for the state police because they’ll have to pick up the slack. This is the nature of county government. We’ve lived and died on coal severance money. Now, with a huge decrease in those funds, it’s on the backs of citizens to pay the bill,” said Lipfird.
The court approved the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office budget for 2014.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, email@example.com