County to consider deputy contract

Published 10:31pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Escambia County commissioners have asked for more time to consider a plan to put on contract a sheriff’s deputy who is currently working part-time.

Sheriff Grover Smith said the deputy, Bill Blair, is a retired Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who has been instrumental in training the sheriff’s department staff, particularly in cases involving guns and in preparing cases for trial.

“What I want him to do is train our officers how to present cases in federal court, particularly gun cases,” Smith said.

Gun theft has been growing as the value of guns increases, Smith said. Just this month several arrests were made in a series of burglaries that included stolen guns.

But because Blair is already on the part-time payroll, commissioners said they wanted to make sure signing a contract with Blair’s consulting company is above board.

“There is some apprehension,” commission Chairman David Stokes said. “Our concern is the liability of when he would be working as a contractor and when he would be working as a part-time deputy.”

As a contractor, he would be required to have his own insurance. As a deputy, he would be under the immunity protection of the sheriff’s office.

Commissioners said they would discuss the issue further at a workshop meeting next month and at their next regular commission meeting.

In other business:

• Commissioners passed a budget for fiscal year 2014, praising county administrator Tony Sanks for his work to balance the budget.

• Commissioners agreed to post a “no through trucks” sign on Rockaway Creek Road, to help the Florida highway department keep trucks off a Florida bridge.

• Commissioners agreed to put up for sale by sealed bid a building on West Ridgeley Street. “It will be to our advantage to sell it to someone who can use it,” Sanks said.

• Commissioners approved an agreement with Baldwin County for them to provide a bed per night in the juvenile detention center in Bay Minette for Escambia County youth.

• Commissioners approved a holiday schedule for the courthouse and road department.

• Commissioners agreed to consider a speed limit on Homewood Lane.

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