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Jail staffing remains hot topic

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
An agreement by the Morgan County Commission to fund 78 personnel for the new county jail instead of the 102 requested by Sheriff Greg Bartlett is not a done deal, according to District 2 Commissioner Richard Lyons.
Lyons said at the conclusion of Tuesday's regular commission meeting he wants to bring the subject back up for another discussion at the next work session Feb. 28.
"I'm concerned about the number of personnel approved for the jail, whether or not it is adequate to meet the need," Lyons said, "and I think we need to sit down again and discuss the numbers."
Lyons and District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark voted against the motion to staff the jail with 78 employees two weeks ago.
In a letter from Bartlett's attorney, Donald R. Rhea of Gadsden, the commission was informed he and Decatur attorney Wesley Lavender will represent the sheriff in the civil litigation filed earlier by Morgan County jail. It was that civil lawsuit that resulted in the new jail being built.
Rhea indicated that a petition will be filed with U.S.District Judge U.W. Clemmon on Friday to protect Bartlett in the matter of the staffing the new jail. He also suggested a meeting of all parties prior to that time in an effort to resolve the controversy."
In a separate but related issue, the commission approved a resolution to withdraw its legal counsel, William E. (Bill) Shinn Jr., from representing Sheriff Bartlett and the jail supervisor.
Shinn said the move was necessary because the interests of the sheriff and commission are in conflict. He and his partners in Harris, Caddell and Shanks P.C. will continue to represent the commission.