Sheriff Tompkins says over budget was expected, saving money is mission

Updated: Aug. 9, 2017 at 6:52 PM EDT
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(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)

MUSCOGEE COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Former Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr got into a big legal battle with the city over not having enough money in his budget. Fast forward to now and current Sheriff Donna Tompkins says being over budget is expected because all of her changes not taking full effect until recently.

"We knew that going forward there were a lot of things we couldn't fix until we started working on a budget," says Sheriff Tompkins.

The Tompkins administration says they have been working since day one on saving money.

However, Tompkins says there are two ongoing issues with the budget: Money spent on medical services for inmates in the Muscogee County Jail and money being spent on reserve deputies used for security and on bailiffs.

"One is medical, sometimes that are medical services that have to go to inmates that you can't anticipate so really there was about $50,000 extra in that and $50,000 in the pharmacy we really didn't know and we didn't know and you cant really anticipate these things," Tompkins says.

"We are going to have to go back and work with council, city manager, and finance director on because we historically these services cost $700,000," she says in regard to the reserve deputies/bailiffs money spent

The Sheriff is planning to bring before a grand jury that bailiffs be paid $15 an hour salary versus the pay-per session they are receiving now, yet another way she say potentially could save money.

"We have identified a lot of cost saving measures that we have initiated in this budget year the overages are from the prior budget and when we took office we looked at where we were and where we would probably be and it wasn't a big shock these things were already set there wasn't a lot that could be done until the new budget came in," says Tompkins.

The Muscogee County Sheriff says she is expecting to save about $300,000 in 2018.

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