County to consider deputy contract

Published 10:31 pm 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.

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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.