Sheriff asks county to pay salary for DTF clerk, temp

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The county commission will continue paying the salary of the drug task force secretary and a part-time employee in the sheriff’s department for up to 90 days while details are worked with Andalusia and Opp on additional funding.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks approached the commission Tuesday about a budget amendment that would add the DTF clerk to his department.

“I’m asking for part-time, but would love full-time,” Meek said. The 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force did not receive an ADECA grant for the agency for the fiscal year 2017.

The funding had been declining for years with the most recent allocation of $50,000 coming in 2016. The grant was $265,000 in 2009.

The county commission agreed to pay the salary of the DTF secretary through Dec. 31.

Meeks told the county commission that the DTF was currently in a revamping mode since it is no longer under ADECA.

“I believe there should be a cost sharing in (the secretary’s) salary,” he said. “DTF is multi-agency.”

Meeks said there are several different options, and suggested the matter be tabled.

“Let’s look at what the most effective way to approach her position is,” Meeks said. “Whatever route, I certainly want to see (Tahni Johnson’s) position retained at DTF. She does a tremendous job.”

The DTF is composed of two agents from the county, one from Andalusia and one from Opp.

The DTF board agreed in October to seek commitments from smaller towns as well.

Meeks said they have received commitments from River Falls, Gantt, Sanford, Lockhart and Florala and were waiting to hear back from Red Level.

Meeks said the district attorney’s office also furnishes the prosecutor.

White said he would like to see them try to move forward with a solid commitment for a 24-36 month period.

Commissioner Tony Holmes said he hates kicking the can down the road and would like to see an agreement reached in 30 or 60 days.

Meeks also said he had a “young lady working with him part-time” for three or four years helping the criminal investigators with transcribing and paperwork.

“She’s a tremendous help for our four investigators,” he said. “Her salary has been budgeted in the past, but not this year.”

Meeks said he would pick up the first three months of the fiscal year.

Meeks said her salary is somewhere around $13,000.

He asked the commission to cover the remaining nearly $11,000 for the rest of the fiscal year.

Commissioner Joe Barton asked Meeks to hold off especially with them working to try to make the DTF secretary position full-time. “I think if Mrs. Johnson went full time, maybe you could take up the slack (with the other employee).

The commission agreed to fund the other employee until they decide what to do with DTF.