Several deputies from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department went to the Randolph County Commission meeting on Thursday.
The sheriff and chief tax deputy took the podium during public comments to voice concerns over budget cuts and a lack of manpower.
“With the increase in gas and oil industry coming to the area, we are going to have an increase in calls, not a decrease. Our call volume has went up, and I felt this commission had failed to realize that and failed to listen to the citizens of this county on what they want,” said Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady.
Sheriff Brady said the commission did not share the budget changes with his department until days before a final decision was made. He also says he has requested an additional deputy for the last several years…but the necessary funds have not been available.
“We are the largest county in the state of West Virginia. The law enforcement work is being done by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and the West Virginia State Police. Both of those agencies are underfunded and undermanned,” continued Brady.
Commission President Michael Taylor said the budget provides an additional deputy and clerical position with the stipulation that funds will not be allocated until individuals are found for those positions.
“When the sheriff submitted his initial budget to us, if we had given him everything he requested, that would have cost an additional $342,000 in new money over last year’s budget,” said Taylor.
“As a commission, we chose not to put the money in there until he identifies someone to fill that position, and we told him that it would be put in there at that time. It’s the same thing with the clerical position,” continued Taylor.
Another county employee said the commission is not concerned with the needs of the community and is making decisions based on personal opinion.
“The county officials, commission and some other elected officials are letting their personal feelings dictate what the county really needs to run properly and effectively. It’s just unfortunate that, I’m afraid, personal feelings are coming between what really needs to happen,” said Chief Tax Deputy Tammy Hinzman.