DA urges officials to give chief deputy raise

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2006

Describing the situation as critical, Butler County District Attorney John Andrews pleaded with county officials on Thursday night to raise Chief Deputy Kenneth Hadley's hourly wage in order stave off his eventual move to the Greenville Police Department.

Hadley, who also serves as the sheriff department's chief investigator, had planned to join the GPD in January when a new administration takes over. Sheriff Diane Harris was defeated in her bid for a fourth term in the June primary by challenger Kenny Harden. Harden faces Republican candidate Clint Reaves in November's General Election.

Hadley notified Andrews and Harris that he would be leaving this week if he didn't receive a pay raise.

Andrews asked the county commission to amend its 2007 fiscal year budget to include an increase in pay for Hadley from $10.50 per hour to $15 per hour. Andrews said the sheriff's office is short-staffed as it is, with only Hadley, Harris and one other qualified deputy to serve the citizens in rural Butler County.

Additionally, if Hadley were to leave immediately, cases involving him as investigator would &#8220go to hell in a hand basket,” said Andrews.

&#8220I come here for selfish reasons,” said Andrews. &#8220But this is an emergency situation. I need someone conducting investigations in the county and Hadley and Diane are the only ones who can do it. And Diane can't work 24 hours a day. I don't need to lose Hadley.”

Harris agreed.

&#8220If something drastic were to happen in the county it would be devastating,” said Harris. &#8220The county is going to have to pay the state to come down here and patrol the county, because there'll be nobody left. If (Hadley) leaves tomorrow, I might as well close the doors up and leave, but I can't do it. It's not like there ain't no money in (the budget) because I had a budget last year to have nine deputies and all that money that we didn't use goes right back in the general fund.”

Harris has faced staff shortages throughout the final year of her administration.

&#8220If a deputy is doing wrong, I won't turn my head,” she said. &#8220We've put several in jail.”

Harris and Hadley both expressed concerns that the county and the sheriff's office would be in worse shape than it is now, especially with the holiday season approaching.

&#8220Crack heads have to have Christmas too,” said Hadley with disdain. &#8220When the criminals find out there's only one deputy in the county it's going to increase crime dramatically.”

Andrews said regardless of the pay increase, Hadley would be leaving in January to work for Greenville. He said the budget only needed to be amended to include the pay raise for Hadley until the first of the year.

Commissioners Jerry Hartin and Glenn King said they would support the pay raise, as did Commissioner Frank Hickman. However, Hickman said the issue should have come up during the hearings prior to budget approval.

&#8220I resent the commission being put in this situation,” he said. &#8220This should have come up two months or even two weeks ago.”

Harris said she was unable to attend budget hearings because she was on duty.

&#8220I can't come over here every few minutes,” she said. &#8220That's my job. I asked for it. I don't regret it.”