Citizens for Better Government
Addressing the commission
We just have a few questions tonight.
According to the state audit report, the Sheriff's department had 269 vehicles at the end of June.
According to the adopted budget, the total number of budgeted employees in all the Sheriff's cost centers, including the jail, is 256.
The budgeted employee number includes part-time employees, secretaries, programmers, medical personnel, jail guards and cafeteria workers -- lots of people who do not need cars, as well as the 34 positions the Sheriff says are unfilled.
And yet, the Sheriff purchased 24 more vehicles last week at a cost to the taxpayers of nearly $500,000.
Why does our Sheriff's department need nearly 300 vehicles, including 39 SUVs and 14 pick-up trucks to support far less than 256 employees?
As recently as 2002, the Blount County Sheriff got along with 135 vehicles.
It may be of interest to you that the Sheriff's department in another East Tennessee county with nearly the same population and the same number of arrests as ours gets the job done with 125 vehicles.
Back in December, the Sheriff placed an order, valued at more than $350,000, for a mobile command unit. According to the state audit report, the Sheriff already had a mobile command unit, acquired in 2005. Could you explain to the public why we have to replace this expensive piece of equipment after just two years?