Commissioners split on uniform reimbursement; payback effort fails

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County Maintenance Supervisor Kinneth Sluder will not be required to pay back almost $300 in unbudgeted uniform reimbursement funds following a split vote by Clay County Commissioners on Monday.

Sluder, who is an employee of the commissioners and oversaw by County Judge Kenneth Liggett, was reimbursed in February for the purchase of seven pair of jean ranging in price from $32.96 to $69.99. Sale discounts brought the total to $297.

The reimbursement was paid out of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office budget for uniform reimbursements, designated for staff of the CCSO. Though Sluder is not a CCSO employee, he is a certified jailer and oversees the trustee work program, and required to wear a uniform shirt.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Johnny Gee made the motion for repayment of the funds, which got a second from Precinct 1 Commissioner Lindy Choate.

Gee said the maintenance supervisor does not qualify for uniform reimbursement from the sheriff’s office because he is not a sheriff’s office employee. The CCSO budget allows for reimbursement for uniforms to 24 sheriff’s office employees.

Henrietta Lawyer Frank Douthitt, who last month penned a letter to the editor about the issue, said the position deserves reimbursement for jeans because the work he does can ruin his clothes. Douthitt also said that the issue amounted to a personal dislike of Sheriff Kenny Lemons by Gee and County Auditor Ramona Seward, and that it was making the county look “dumb.”

Gee said that if Sluder is reimbursed because he might ruin his pants, then all county employees should be reimbursed, an act that would cost taxpayers $19,200.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Lindy Choate said that the problem is not the amount of the reimbursement, but that it was not budgeted for.

As pointed out by Precinct 4 Commissioner A.J. Peek, this is the second time Sluder has been reimbursed for uniforms from the CCSO fund. In 2011, the sheriff’s office reimbursed Sluder $300 for the polo-type shirts with the CCSO logo.

“We’re the gate keepers as far as the money goes,” said Peek. He continues, stating that he has a problem with “letting it slide” and then asking for the money back.

Gee and Choate voted in favor of repayment, while Peek and Precinct 3 Commissioner John McGregor voted against. Liggett broke the tie with a “no” vote.

In other business, commissioners:

Accepted bids for the sale of a 1964 Caterpillar loader and 1999 Ford half-ton pickup by Precinct 4. Gerald Johnson bid $7,110 for the loader and Gene Cassetty bid $900 for the pickup.

Appointed Maribel Longoria as the alternate Spanish language interpreter for county court.

Tabled a request from Clay County Treasurer Debra Alexander to amend an order passed June 13, 2011 for early payment of some bills. Alexander asked that the amendment include Clay County Memorial Hospital.

Took no action on a possible burn ban.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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