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Official Statement from the Sheriff of Jefferson County Concerning News of Denial of County Payroll



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As Sheriff of Jefferson County, I am compelled to address the alarming situation created by County Judge Gerald Robinson's repeated refusal to approve the payroll for the April 15, 2024, earnings period. This decision directly affects not only the staff of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, W.C. "Dub" Brassell Adult Detention and Jack Jones Juvenile Justice Center, which I oversee, but all county employees, many of whom are essential workers and first responders to include 911 dispatchers and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

It is distressing to report that Judge Robinson's actions appear to be retaliatory and politically motivated. These actions have already prompted multiple lawsuits, squandering thousands of taxpayer dollars. This unnecessary turmoil has caused significant panic among our dedicated employees, severely disrupted public services across all county offices, and forced my team and myself to spend countless hours addressing concerns from staff about their financial security due to this unexpected non-payment.

The recklessness displayed by Judge Robinson and his chief of staff, Rosetta Giddens, cannot be overstated. Their disregard for the well-being of the county's employees and the operational integrity of our essential services is deeply concerning. It is a situation that should outrage every resident of Jefferson County.

Personal disputes or differing interpretations concerning the details of employee compensation should be handled in a manner that does not hinder the County Clerk's ability to process payroll. Ensuring that employees are compensated for their hard work is not just a matter of law; it is a matter of moral duty.

The ongoing crisis underscores the urgent need for state or federal intervention to affirm and enforce the separation of powers within our county government. Such intervention is crucial to uphold the constitutional responsibilities entrusted to each office and to prevent such abuses of power.

I urge anyone with legal authority and resources to take a closer look at the operations within the Office of the County Judge. We need relief, and indeed, we needed it yesterday.

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Lafayette Woods, Jr.