When a new Warren County Sheriff is elected in August, one of his first responsibilities will be naming a new jail supervisor.
Eddie Knowles has announced he will be retiring in August.
“I’m leaving Aug. 31,” said Knowles. “I’m getting ready to live life, I guess. I’ve been making decisions all my life and some pretty big decisions, but this was the hardest one I’ve ever made. When to retire is a tough decision to make. It wasn’t easy.”
Knowles began working as a corrections officer at the jail 16 years ago and became supervisor in 2005.
“It has been a challenge, that’s for sure,” said Knowles. “But, everybody says I have the easy job. I’ve got about 35 employees and about 300 inmates. That isn’t much to take care of everyday, is it?”
Members of the county Budget and Finance Committee met Tuesday and expressed concern for a new sheriff giving someone Knowles’ ending salary. There are six sheriff candidates: Billy Joe Crouch, Bobby Edwards, Marc Martin, John Morgan, Tommy Myers, and Rodney Whiles.
“Some of the people running for sheriff already have their jail director picked, by what some of them have told me,” said Commissioner Carl E. Bouldin. “We can’t let them start out at $48,313.”
The committee met to review the proposed budgets for fiscal year 2018-19 for both the Sheriff’s Department and its jail.
Commissioner Terry Bell says the new sheriff can set the next supervisor’s salary up to what’s budgeted and the only way to prevent it from being $48,313 is to reduce that amount in next year’s budget, and he suggested $40,000.
Bouldin turned that suggestion into a motion.
Finance director Linda Hillis stopped the process by reminding committee members the budget runs from June 31 to July 1 so the reduction in salary would have to begin once Knowles retires.
“I can calculate it based on Knowles’ salary for July and August and set the salary for $40,000 after that,” she said. “It’s your call.”
Bouldin withdrew his motion stating, “Let’s just leave it like it is. It’s going to be complicated.”
The proposed budgets were $3.3 million for the Sheriff’s Department and $3.6 million for the jail. The requests were unanimously approved, minus any salary increases that may have been included.
Also reviewed and approved were the following proposed budgets: 1) E-911 at $145,000; 2) EMA at $64,316; 3) EMS at $3.6 million; and 4) Sanitation Department at $1.39 million.
Budgets for fiscal year 2018-19 are not final until gaining full Warren County Commission approval.