Attorney gives input on contract
Sheriff agrees to salary proposal

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

It’s settled. The sheriff will receive $73,000 salary next year.

The Ripley County Commissioners, Ripley County Council and the sheriff all agreed to the amount at the Ripley County Council meeting December 17. The Ripley County Commissioners, who had met earlier in the day, continued their meeting during the council meeting in order to vote on the sheriff’s salary and other issues.

After the agreement had been met, Attorney Neil Comer said, “We always have had a contract with the sheriff. We never had to worry about the 60% [of the prosecutor’s salary]. It doesn’t have any application at all. I think you [Council] believed you had to pay 60%, but you didn’t. As long as the commissioners, council and sheriff agree to a salary, that’s what it is.” Comer said he will get the contract drawn up for everyone to sign.

Sheriff Tom Grills pleaded his case for the extra $6,000 he felt he was entitled to by presenting a Certificate of County Auditor, signed on September 9, 2006, by Auditor Mary Ann McCoy on salaries for the sheriff’s department.

The document listed the sheriff as receiving $69,300 with this note ($70,000 was approved temporarily until new sheriff is elected to decide how he wants to be paid. Original amount that would be allowed is $69,300 per prosecutor salary.)

Grills also passed out a copy of an email he had sent to council and Attorney Comer. It stated, “I am willing to sign a contract that includes the 60% of the prosecutor (salary), plus $6,000 out of the tax warrant collection. This will have no effect on the taxpayer or council... I appreciate your thought and keeping your word in this matter. Also, I am under the firm belief that if you support me, I can then support you in the revenue which can be generated to support the county general and the budgets. This is a team effort and if I can be compensated for my diligent work and remarkable effort then that working relationship can continue...”

Grills continued to protest that he was still entitled to the additional $6,000. Grills stated, “I was wronged. I feel I was taken advantage of. That money was appropriated.” But, he agreed in the end to accept the $73,000 contract.

A contract for services between the Ripley County Commissioners and the Ripley County Humane Society was signed after council agreed to give the society $60,000 toward its building project “in exchange for services designed to assist in relieving the burden of government to the protection and treatment of cats and dogs in Ripley County.” These are services the humane society presently offers.

Former Sheriff Bill Dramann, said he wanted to clear up a matter about how much a vehicle he purchased when he was sheriff had cost. Dramann said an email had been circulating with an incorrect amount. The actual cost for the Expedition he purchased in 2001 was $30,430.

Traci Eggleston, Director of Family and Children’s Services, asked for two transfers. Then she asked for $230,511 of bills for 2007 be encumbered to be paid in 2008. Her requests were approved.
EMS Director Scott Huffman gave a report for 2007. He said 1,718 runs had been dispatched. That is an average of five runs a day. This is a 9% increase over 2006. The runs broken down by area are: Batesville 24%, Sunman 10%, Milan 22 %, and Rescue 69’s area 44%.

Appointments were made to the Vernon Fork Water District Board. Chuck Folz was appointed by the Ripley County Commissioners. The joint appointment by the commissioners and council was Jeff Volz. The council’s appointment was Mike Vonderhide.

Elsie Luke was appointed to the Board of Health. George Bultman was appointed to the Ripley County Park Board in place of Doug Thayer who resigned.

All seven county council members were in attendance. Attorney Neil Comer and Auditor Mary Ann McCoy were present to advise the council members. The next regular meeting of the Ripley County Council will be Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the commissioners’ room of the Ripley County Courthouse Annex. At that time, the council will decide on officers and meeting dates for 2008.