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Sheriff introduces new deputy to fiscal court

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By Jimmie Earls

Listen up Washington County, there’s a new deputy sheriff in town, and her name is Sue Mudd. The name should sound familiar because Mudd previously served on the Springfield Police Department. Washington County Sheriff Tommy Bartley told the Washington County Fiscal Court of the new hire at the  court’s meeting Monday.

“I just wanted to let you know that I have hired a new deputy in Sue Mudd,” Bartley told the court. “She’s been in law enforcement for five years, she’s already certified and she’s ready to go. She started last Monday.”

Mudd, a native of Los Angeles, Calif., reached the rank of sergeant as a Springfield police officer. Her hiring fills part of the void left after two county deputies were dismissed in November. Bartley also said that he is in the process of looking for another deputy, hopefully one who has already been certified by the state.

Bartley also presented the court with a check for $30,000 from excess fees in 2009.

In other county business:

• The county is facing a dead animal dilemma due to the passing last December of Henry Mattingly, the owner of DARS, Inc., with whom the county has a contract for dead animal removal. The company has fallen behind on pick-ups.

“I’ve received a lot of calls about picking up dead animals,” said magistrate Benjamin Settles. “We have to do something about it.”

“I have three examples of the company not picking the animals up within the same week,” added Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles. “I believe his son and daughter are trying to run the business, and they’re claiming that they got so far behind that they can’t get caught up. This has been going on way too long. There’s been some animals down for a couple of weeks before they can get them picked up. It’s bad enough when it’s cold, but now that it’s starting to warm up, you can imagine what that’s going to be like.”

The court is currently looking for a solution to the problem.

• The court voted unanimously to keep magistrate salaries the same for the next four years. Judge Settles said raises can only be voted on in an election year. Right now, each magistrate receives $4,995 annually. Several neighboring counties have higher salaries. In Marion County, magistrates receive $10,420 each year, while Nelson County magistrates receive $14,200. Anderson County pays a little over $9,500 a year to each magistrate and Boyle County magistrates make about $7,200. Only five counties in the commonwealth have lower magistrate salaries than Washington County.

• The county has decided to purchase two 2009 Mack trucks it had been leasing. In previous years, the county would trade in the leased trucks and continue to lease newer models, but with costs rising and financing becoming more stringent, the fiscal court decided to forego the hassles and purchase the currently leased trucks outright for $195,950 for the pair. In previous years, the county has traded in the trucks and received a percentage of the sale price toward the lease of new trucks.

The decision to purchase was made because money is available from a FEMA reimbursement check for $247,000 the county received following last year’s ice storm. Additional money is also available from routine road aid money in the amount of $243,000, according to Judge Settles.

“That was unexpected income. Knowing that we did budget to pay off these trucks, I suggest that we do not pursue leasing or borrowing money for the trucks, and there is no penalty for early pay off. I suggest we just pay the trucks off,” Settles said.

“I’ll make a motion to that effect,” said magistrate Billy Riney. Magistrate Greg Simms seconded the motion and the court voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m., March 26.